Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Recollection rejection or “recall-to-reject” is a mechanism that has been posited to help maintain accurate memory by preventing the occurrence of false memories. Recollection rejection occurs when the presentation of a new item during recognition triggers recall of an associated target, a mismatch in features between the new and old items is registered, and the lure is correctly rejected. Critically, this characterization of recollection rejection involves a recall signal that is conceptually similar to recollection as elicited by a target. However, previous neuroimaging studies have not evaluated the extent to which recollection rejection and target recollection rely on a common neural signal but have instead focused on recollection rejection as a postretrieval monitoring process. This study utilized a false memory paradigm in conjunction with an adapted remember–know–new response paradigm that separated “new” responses based on recollection rejection from those that were based on a lack of familiarity with the item. This procedure allowed for parallel recollection rejection and target recollection contrasts to be computed. Results revealed that, contrary to predictions from theoretical and behavioral literature, there was virtually no evidence of a common retrieval mechanism supporting recollection rejection and target recollection. Instead of the typical target recollection network, recollection rejection recruited a network of lateral prefrontal and bilateral parietal regions that is consistent with the retrieval monitoring network identified in previous neuroimaging studies of recollection rejection. However, a functional connectivity analysis revealed a component of the frontoparietal rejection network that showed increased coupling with the right hippocampus during recollection rejection responses. As such, we demonstrate a possible link between PFC monitoring network and basic retrieval mechanisms within the hippocampus that was not revealed with univariate analyses alone.