Episodic memory (i.e., the ability to remember past episodes) is widely conceived as a constructive process that is prone to error. Although imperfect, an important function of a constructive episodic memory is to support episodic simulation (i.e., the ability to imagine novel future episodes). In line with the idea that episodic memory and episodic simulation are supported by common processes, neuroimaging data indicate that there is a core network of neural structures jointly recruited during memory and simulation. A relatively unexplored, yet fundamental, area of research is the identification of the specific contributions of the individual regions comprising this network. Dr. Preston Thakral will present findings from three experiments that employed functional magnetic resonance imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation to identify the specific processes supported by the left angular gyrus and the hippocampus, two regions of the core network associated with episodic memory and episodic simulation. Dr. Thakral will also discuss how, by understanding the neural mechanisms that support memory and simulation, we can shed light on the neural mechanisms supporting other cognitive functions (e.g., creativity and problem solving).
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