Functional connectivity between memory and reward centers across task and rest track memory sensitivity to reward

  • Lea E. Frank
  • Alison R. Preston
  • Dagmar ZeithamovaEmail author
Special Issue/Reward Systems, Cognition,and Emotion


External motivation, such as a promise of future monetary reward for remembering an event, can affect which events are remembered. Reward-based memory modulation is thought to result from encoding and post-encoding interactions between dopaminergic midbrain, signaling reward, and hippocampus and parahippocampal cortex, supporting episodic memory. We asked whether hippocampal and parahippocampal interactions with other reward-related regions are related to reward modulation of memory and whether such relationships are stable over time. Individuals’ memory sensitivity to reward was measured using a monetary incentive encoding task in which a cue indicated potential monetary reward (penny, dime, or dollar) for remembering an upcoming object pair. Functional connectivity between memory and reward regions was measured before, during, and following the task. Reward-related regions of interest were generated using a meta-analysis of existing studies on reward and included ventral striatum, medial and orbital prefrontal cortices and anterior cingulate cortex, in addition to midbrain. The results showed that connectivity between memory and reward regions tracked individual differences in reward modulation of memory, irrespective of when connectivity was measured. Connectivity patterns of anterior cingulate, orbitofrontal cortex, and ventral striatum covaried together and tracked behavior most strongly. These findings implicate a broader set of reward regions in reward modulation of memory than considered previously and provide new evidence that stable connectivity patterns between memory and reward centers relate to individual differences in how reward impacts memory.


Episodic memory Functional connectivity Hippocampus Motivation Reward Prefrontal cortex 



This work was supported by a National Science Foundation CAREER Award BCS 1056019 (ARP), NIH-NIMH R01 MH100121 (ARP), and NIH-NIMH National Research Service Award F32 MH094085 (DZ). The authors declare no competing financial interests.


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© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lea E. Frank
    • 1
  • Alison R. Preston
    • 2
  • Dagmar Zeithamova
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.Center for Learning and Memory and Department of PsychologyThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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