Brain regions and their dynamics in prospective memory retrieval: A MEG study

Tim Martin, Mark A. McDaniel, Melissa J. Guynn, Jon M. Houck, C. Chad Woodruff, Joel Pearson Bish, Sandra N. Moses, Dubravko Kičić, Claudia D. Tesche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


We measured brain activity using magnetoencephalography in five participants during ongoing tasks that included prospective memory, retrospective memory, and oddball trials. Sources were identified in the hippocampal formation and posterior parietal and frontal lobes. Posterior parietal cortex activation had an earlier onset in the prospective memory condition than retrospective memory or oddball conditions, a higher level of theta activity in the retrospective condition, and higher levels of upper alpha in the prospective and oddball conditions. Activation of the hippocampal formation had a longer duration in the retrospective memory and prospective memory conditions than the oddball condition, but prominent alpha and theta band activity was present in all three conditions. We interpret the early (87 ms) onset of activity in parietal cortex as evidence for an initial noticing of appropriate conditions for a PM response. Hippocampal activity may reflect a subsequent memory search for the intended action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-258
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Prospective memory
  • Retrospective memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)


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