False memories occur when we generate a memory of a past experience when in fact no such event occurred. Neuroimaging studies find that both true and false memories are mediated by highly overlapping neural networks, suggesting similar cognitive processes may mediate both types of memories. Despite the widespread overlap in neural recruitment, several brain regions show differential recruitment for each type of memory. True memories show greater activity in sensory processing regions and the medial temporal lobe whereas false memories show greater activity in frontal cortices. Greater activity for true compared to false memories in sensory processing regions has been interpreted with respect to the sensory reactivation hypothesis. Several interpretations regarding increased frontal activity for false memories have also been offered, including a greater reliance on gist and familiarity processes as well as greater monitoring associated with making what may be a more difficult memory decision.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes