A posterior-anterior distinction between scene perception and scene construction in human medial parietal cortex

Edward H. Silson*, Adrian W. Gilmore, Sarah E. Kalinowski, Adam Steel, Alexis Kidder, Alex Martin, Chris I. Baker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human retrosplenial complex (RSC), located in medial parietal cortex, has been implicated in numerous cognitive functions, including scene perception, spatial navigation, and autobiographical memory retrieval. Recently, a posterior–anterior distinction within RSC was proposed, such that posterior aspects process scene-related visual information (constituting a medial place area [MPA]), whereas anterior aspects process information that is vividly retrieved from memory, thereby supporting remembering and potentially navigation. Here, we tested this proposed distinction in a single group of participants (both male and female) using fMRI with both perceptual and mnemonic tasks. After completing a resting-state scan, participants performed a task that required constructing scenes from memory and completed a scene selectivity localizer task. We tested directly perceptual and mnemonic responses in MPA and an anterior, connectivity-defined region (CON), which showed strong functional connectivity with anterior parahippocampal place area. A double dissociation was observed, such that CON was more strongly activated during scene construction than was MPA, whereas MPA was more perceptually responsive than CON. Further, peak responses from the scene construction task were anterior to perceptual peaks in all but 1 participant and hemisphere. Finally, through analyses of the posterior–anterior response profiles, we identify the fundus of the parieto-occipital sulcus as a potential location for the crossover from perceptual to mnemonic representations and highlight a potential left-hemisphere advantage for mnemonic representations. Collectively, our results support a distinction between posterior and anterior aspects of the RSC, suggesting that more specific functional-anatomic terms should be used in its place in future work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-717
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2019


  • fMRI
  • memory
  • RSC
  • scene construction
  • scene perception
  • PAR


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