“Recent research has identified human subjects who have highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM). Here, (Santangelo and colleagues) investigated, using fMRI, the neural activation induced by retrieval of autobiographical memories (AMs) and semantic memories (SMs) in subjects with HSAM and control subjects. While their brains were being scanned, subjects had to retrieve autobiographical memories as well as semantic memories (e.g., examples of animals). The subjects with HSAM displayed a superior ability to retrieve details of autobiographical memories, supported by enhanced activation of several brain regions, including the medial prefrontal cortex and temporoparietal junction, as well as increased connectivity of the prefrontal cortex with the hippocampus, a region well known to be involved in memory representation.” The authors suggest that activation of these systems may play a critical role in enabling HSAM.
Santangelo V, Cavallina C, Colucci P, Santori A, Macrì S, McGaugh JL, and Campolongo P: Enhanced brain activity associated with memory access in highly superior autobiographical memory. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 115(30):7795-7800 (2018).