Prestimulus Activity in the Cingulo-Opercular Network Predicts Memory for Naturalistic Episodic Experience

Noga Cohen, Aya Ben-Yakov, Jochen Weber, Micah G. Edelson, Rony Paz, Yadin Dudai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human memory is strongly influenced by brain states occurring before an event, yet we know little about the underlying mechanisms. We found that activity in the cingulo-opercular network (including bilateral anterior insula [aI] and anterior prefrontal cortex [aPFC]) seconds before an event begins can predict whether this event will subsequently be remembered. We then tested how activity in the cingulo-opercular network shapes memory performance. Our findings indicate that prestimulus cingulo-opercular activity affects memory performance by opposingly modulating subsequent activity in two sets of regions previously linked to encoding and retrieval of episodic information. Specifically, higher prestimulus cingulo-opercular activity was associated with a subsequent increase in activity in temporal regions previously linked to encoding and with a subsequent reduction in activity within a set of regions thought to play a role in retrieval and self-referential processing. Together, these findings suggest that prestimulus attentional states modulate memory for real-life events by enhancing encoding and possibly by dampening interference from competing memory substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1902-1913
Number of pages12
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number3
StatePublished - 14 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
EP7 Human Brain Project (to N.C., A.B.Y., R.P., and Y.D.); Israeli Center of Research Excellence in the Cognitive Sciences of the Planning and Grants Committee; Israeli Science Foundation (Grant 51/11 to R.P. and Y.D.); the Blavatnik Postdoctoral Fellowship (to A.B.Y); Fulbright, Israeli Science Foundation (Grant 61/16); Israel Council for Higher Education Postdoctoral Fellowships (to N.C).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:


  • cingulo-opercular network
  • episodic memory
  • fMRI
  • prestimulus
  • subsequent memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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