How recent learning shapes the brain: Memory-dependent functional reconfiguration of brain circuits

Roberta Passiatore, Linda A. Antonucci, Sabine Bierstedt, Manojkumar Saranathan, Alessandro Bertolino, Boris Suchan, Giulio Pergola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The process of storing recently encoded episodic mnestic traces so that they are available for subsequent retrieval is accompanied by specific brain functional connectivity (FC) changes. In this fMRI study, we examined the early processing of memories in twenty-eight healthy participants performing an episodic memory task interposed between two resting state sessions. Memory performance was assessed through a forced-choice recognition test after the scanning sessions. We investigated resting state system configuration changes via Independent Component Analysis by cross-modeling baseline resting state spatial maps onto the post-encoding resting state, and post-encoding resting state spatial maps onto baseline. We identified both persistent and plastic components of the overall brain functional configuration between baseline and post-encoding. While FC patterns within executive, default mode, and cerebellar circuits persisted from baseline to post-encoding, FC within the visual circuit changed. A significant session × performance interaction characterized medial temporal lobe and prefrontal cortex FC with the visual circuit, as well as thalamic FC within the executive control system. Findings reveal early-stage FC changes at the system-level subsequent to a learning experience and associated with inter-individual variation in memory performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118636
StatePublished - Dec 15 2021


  • Episodic memory
  • Functional connectivity
  • Independent component analysis
  • Learning
  • Resting state
  • System configuration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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