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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 19 (2008), Issue 1-2, Pages 19-22

Autonoetic Consciousness in Autobiographical Memories after Medial Temporal Lobe Resection

M. Noulhiane,1,2 P. Piolino,3 D. Hasboun,1,4 S. Clemenceau,5,6,7 M. Baulac,6,7 and S. Samson2,6

1Laboratoire de Neurosciences Cognitives et d'Imagerie Cérébrale, LENA CNRS UPR 640, CHU Pitié Salpêtrière, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Paris, France
2Laboratoire de Neuropsychologie et Cognition Auditive, JE 2497, Université Charles de Gaule-Lille 3, Villeneuve d'Ascq, France
3Laboratoire de Psychologie et Neurosciences Cognitives, CNRS FRE 2987, Université Paris Descartes, Paris, France
4Unité de Neuroradiologie, CHU Pitié Salpêtrière, Paris, France
5Unité de Neurochirurgie, CHU Pitié Salpêtrière, Paris, France
6Unité d'Epilepsie, CHU Pitié Salpêtrière, Paris, France
7Cortex et Epilepsie, INSERM 739, CHU Pitié Salpêtrière, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Paris, France

Received 31 March 2008; Accepted 31 March 2008

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study aims to investigate autonoetic consciousness associated with episodic autobiographical memory in patients who had undergone unilateral medial temporal lobe resection for intractable epilepsy. Autonoetic consciousness, defined as the conscious feeling of mentally travelling back in time to relive a specific event, was assessed using the Remember/Know (R/K) paradigm across different time periods as proposed in the autobiographical memory task developed by Piolino et al. (TEMPau task). Results revealed that the two patient groups (left and right temporal resection) gave reduced sense of reliving (R) responses and more familiarity (K) responses than healthy controls. This poor autonoetic consciousness was highlighted when patients were asked to justify their Remember responses by recalling sensory-perceptive, affective or spatiotemporal specific details across all life periods. These results support the bilateral MTL contribution to episodic autobiographical memory covering the entire lifespan, which is consistent with the multiple trace theory of MTL function [7,9]. This study also demonstrates the bilateral involvement of MTL structures in recalling specific details of personal events characterized by autonoetic consciousness.