Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)
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Traditionally, the medial temporal lobe (MTL) is thought to be dedicated to declarative memory. Recent evidence challenges this view, suggesting that perirhinal cortex (PrC), which interfaces the MTL with the ventral visual pathway, supports highly integrated object representations in recognition memory and perceptual discrimination. Even with comparable representational demands, perceptual and memory tasks differ in numerous task demands and the subjective experience they evoke. Here, we tested whether such differences are reflected in distinct patterns of connectivity between PrC and other cortical regions, including differential involvement of prefrontal control processes. We examined functional magnetic resonance imaging data for closely matched perceptual and recognition memory tasks for faces that engaged right PrC equivalently. Multivariate seed analyses revealed distinct patterns of interactions: Right ventrolateral prefrontal and posterior cingulate cortices exhibited stronger functional connectivity with PrC in recognition memory; fusiform regions were part of the pattern that displayed stronger functional connectivity with PrC in perceptual discrimination. Structural equation modeling revealed distinct patterns of effective connectivity that allowed us to constrain interpretation of these findings. Overall, they demonstrate that, even when MTL structures show similar involvement in recognition memory and perceptual discrimination, differential neural mechanisms are reflected in the interplay between the MTL and other cortical regions.