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Remembering a past event is not always easy. In his Perspective, Rugg explains that this is because memory encoding, the process by which the experience of an event is converted to a physical change in the brain, can be variable and is affected by factors such as how carefully we pay attention to the experience. He also discusses new findings in this issue (by Brewer et al and Wagner et al .) that point to specific areas of the prefrontal cortex and the parahippocampal gyrus as sites in which encoding may be taking place.