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When a novel word is learned, its memory representation is thought to undergo a process of consolidation and integration. In this study, we tested whether the neural representations of novel words change as a function of consolidation by observing brain activation patterns just after learning and again after a delay of one week. Words learned with meanings were remembered better than those learned without meanings. Both episodic (hippocampus-dependent) and semantic (dependent on distributed neocortical areas) memory systems were utilised during recognition of the novel words. The extent to which the two systems were involved changed as a function of time and the amount of associated information, with more involvement of both systems for the meaningful words than for the form-only words after the one-week delay. These results suggest that the reason the meaningful words were remembered better is that their retrieval can benefit more from these two complementary memory systems.

Original publication




Journal article


Brain Lang

Publication Date





44 - 60


Angular gyrus, Consolidation, Episodic memory, Hippocampus, Inferior frontal gyrus, Integration, Novel word learning, Posterior middle temporal gyrus, Semantic memory, fMRI, Adolescent, Adult, Brain, Female, Hippocampus, Humans, Male, Memory, Memory, Episodic, Semantics, Speech Perception, Time Factors, Young Adult