In this study, we evaluated the use of a self-paced fMRI design, to allow a flexible speed of responding with only four alternating stimulus blocks to minimize the influence of task switching on a group of young subjects. This was done in view of our intention to use such a design on groups of elderly and demented subjects in the near future. In addition, the hypothesis was tested that the medial temporal lobe is involved in semantic memory similar to episodic memory using a semantic retrieval task. In line with previous imaging studies that compared a semantic (living/nonliving) to a perceptual (alphabetically ascending/descending) classification condition, activity was seen in lateral temporal and inferior frontal regions, indicating the applicability of our design. Additional activity was seen in the right, and, at a slightly lower threshold, also in the left MTL, providing support for the involvement of the MTL in retrieval from semantic memory.
- Medial temporal lobe