It is widely held that long-term memory gradually develops in the temporal neocortex after initial memory encoding into the hippocampus. However, little is known as to whether and where long-term memory can be newly created in the human temporal neocortex. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we detected brain activity in the temporal neocortex that was developed ∼8 weeks after study of unfamiliar pictorial paired associates. Two sets of paired Fourier figures were studied, one ∼8 weeks before test and the other immediately before test, keeping the correct performance during the tests balanced across the two sets of stimuli. Significant signal increase was observed in the right hippocampus during retrieval of newly studied pairs relative to initially studied pairs. In contrast, significant signal increase was observed in the anterior temporal cortex during retrieval of initially studied pairs relative to newly studied pairs. The greater activity during retrieval of older memory developed in the temporal neocortex provides direct evidence of formation of temporal neocortical representation for stable long-term memory.
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