Scientists from the University of York say their findings may have relevance to memory disorders, including dementia, where problems remembering relevant information can impact on the daily life of patients.
Researchers say the findings may also have important implications for the development of a new generation of artificial intelligence systems, which use long-term memory in solving computational problems.
The brain's long-term memory stores are categorised into two: factual memory and memory of personal experiences.
Together, these two long-term memory stores help us understand and respond to the world around us.
Decades of clinical and experimental research has shown that these two memory stores are represented across two separate brain regions.
But the new study suggests that a shared set of brain regions play an important role in controlling the successful retrieval of weak memories.