Overcoming suppression in order to remember: Contributions from anterior cingulate and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex

Brice A. Kuhl, Itamar Kahn, Nicole M. Dudukovic, Anthony D. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The ability to remember is often compromised by competition from irrelevant memories. However, acts of selective remembering can alter the competitive relationship between memories; memories that are selected against are weakened, whereas those that are retrieved are strengthened. Whereas the weakening of selected-against memories is typically evidenced by subsequently poorer recall of these memories, the present study tested the hypothesis that when previously selected-against memories can subsequently be successfully retrieved, such acts of successful retrieval are associated with engagement of neurobiological mechanisms that serve to detect and overcome competition. Consistent with this hypothesis, fMRI revealed that anterior cingulate cortex and right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex are differentially engaged during successful retrieval of previously selected-against memories, and that their engagement is directly related to the magnitude of weakening that is induced by prior acts of selecting against these memories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-221
Number of pages11
JournalCognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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