Subsequent memory paradigms allow to identify neural correlates of successful encoding by separating brain responses as a function of memory performance during later retrieval. In functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the paradigm typically elicits activations of medial temporal lobe, prefrontal and parietal cortical structures in young, healthy participants. This categorical approach is, however, limited by insufficient memory performance in elderly and particularly memory-impaired individuals. A parametric modulation of encoding-related activations with memory confidence could overcome this limitation. Here, we applied cross-validated Bayesian model selection (cvBMS) for first-level fMRI models to a visual subsequent memory paradigm in young (18-35 years) and elderly (51-80 years) adults. Nested cvBMS revealed that parametric models, especially with non-linear transformations of memory confidence ratings, outperformed categorical models in explaining the fMRI signal variance during encoding. We thereby provide a framework for improving the modeling of encoding-related activations and for applying subsequent memory paradigms to memory-impaired individuals.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience