Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol:94 issue:14 pages:7627-32
Long-term visual memory performance was impaired by two types of challenges: a diazepam challenge on acquisition and a sensory challenge on recognition. Using positron-emission tomography regional cerebral blood flow imaging, we studied the effect of these challenges on regional brain activation during the delayed recognition of abstract visual shapes as compared with a baseline fixation task. Both challenges induced a significant decrease in differential activation in the left fusiform gyrus, suggesting that this region is involved in the automatic or volitional comparison of incoming and stored stimuli. In contrast, thalamic differential activation increased in response to memory challenges. This increase might reflect enhanced retrieval attempts as a compensatory mechanism for restoring recognition performance.