Episodic memory involves the reinstatement of distributed patterns of brain activity present when events were initially experienced. The hippocampus is thought to coordinate reinstatement via its interactions with a network of brain regions, but this hypothesis has not been causally tested in humans. The current study directly tested the involvement of the hippocampal network in reinstatement using network-targeted noninvasive stimulation. We measured reinstatement of multi-voxel patterns of fMRI activity during encoding and retrieval of naturalistic video clips depicting everyday activities. Reinstatement of video-specific activity patterns was robust in posterior-parietal and occipital areas previously implicated in event reinstatement. Theta-burst stimulation targeting the hippocampal network increased video-specific reinstatement of fMRI activity patterns in occipital cortex and improved memory accuracy relative to stimulation of a control out-of-network location. Furthermore, stimulation targeting the hippocampal network influenced the trial-by-trial relationship between hippocampal activity during encoding and later reinstatement in occipital cortex. These findings implicate the hippocampal network in the reinstatement of spatially distributed patterns of event-specific activity, and identify a role for the hippocampus in encoding complex naturalistic events that later undergo cortical reinstatement.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience