We used multivoxel pattern analysis (MVPA) of functional MRI (fMRI) data to gain insight into how subjects' retrieval agendas influence source memory judgments (was item X studied using source Y?). In Experiment 1, we used a single-agenda test where subjects judged whether items were studied with the targeted source or not. In Experiment 2, we used a multiagenda test where subjects judged whether items were studied using the targeted source, studied using a different source, or nonstudied. To evaluate the differences between single-and multiagenda source monitoring, we trained a classifier to detect source-specific fMRI activity at study, and then we applied the classifier to data from the test phase. We focused on trials where the targeted source and the actual source differed, so we could use MVPA to track neural activity associated with both the targeted source and the actual source. Our results indicate that single-agenda monitoring was associated with increased focus on the targeted source (as evidenced by increased targeted-source activity, relative to baseline) and reduced use of information relating to the actual, nontarget source. In the multiagenda experiment, high levels of actual-source activity were associated with increased correct rejections, suggesting that subjects were using recollection of actual-source information to avoid source memory errors. In the single-agenda experiment, there were comparable levels of actual-source activity (suggesting that recollection was taking place), but the relationship between actual-source activity and behavior was absent (suggesting that subjects were failing to make proper use of this information).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Long-term memory
- Pattern classification
- Retrieval strategies
- Source memory