Using a combined approach of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and noninvasive brain stimulation (transcranial direct current stimulation [tDCS]), the present study investigated source memory and its link to mental imagery in the olfactory domain, as well as in the auditory domain. Source memory refers to the knowledge of the origin of mental experiences, differentiating events that have occurred and memories of imagined events. Because of a confusion between internally generated and externally perceived information, patients that are prone to hallucinations show decreased source memory accuracy; also, vivid mental imagery can lead to similar results in healthy controls. We tested source memory following cathodal tDCS stimulation using a mental imagery task, which required participants to perceive or imagine a set of the same olfactory and auditory stimuli during fMRI. The supplementary motor area (SMA) is involved in mental imagery across different modalities and potentially linked to source memory. Therefore, we attempted to modulate participants’ SMA activation before entering the scanner using tDCS to influence source memory accuracy in healthy participants. Our results showed the same source memory accuracy between the olfactory and auditory modalities with no effects of stimulation. Finally, we found SMA’s subregions differentially involved in olfactory and auditory imagery, with activation of dorsal SMA correlated with auditory source memory.

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