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  1. Abstract

    We investigated how the human brain integrates experiences of specific events to build general knowledge about typical event structure. We examined an episodic memory area important for temporal relations, anterior-lateral entorhinal cortex, and a semantic memory area important for action concepts, middle temporal gyrus, to understand how and when these areas contribute to these processes. Participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while learning and recalling temporal relations among novel events over two sessions 1 week apart. Across distinct contexts, individual temporal relations among events could either be consistent or inconsistent with each other. Within each context, during the recall phase, we measured associative coding as the difference of multivoxel correlations among related vs unrelated pairs of events. Neural regions that form integrative representations should exhibit stronger associative coding in the consistent than the inconsistent contexts. We found evidence of integrative representations that emerged quickly in anterior-lateral entorhinal cortex (at session 1), and only subsequently in middle temporal gyrus, which showed a significant change across sessions. A complementary pattern of findings was seen with signatures during learning. This suggests that integrative representations are established early in anterior-lateral entorhinal cortex and may be a pathway to the later emergence of semantic knowledge in middle temporal gyrus.

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