We employed event-related fMRI to constrain cognitive accounts of memory retrieval. Studies of explicit retrieval reveal that lateral and medial parietal, dorsal middle frontal gyrus, and anterior prefrontal cortex respond more for studied than new words, reflecting a correlate of "retrieval success." Studies of implicit memory suggest left temporal cortex, ventral and dorsal inferior frontal gyrus respond less for studied than new words, reflecting a correlate of "conceptual priming." In the present study, responses for old and new items were compared during performance on explicit recognition (old/new judgement) and semantic (abstract/concrete judgement) tasks. Regions associated with priming were only modulated during the semantic task, whereas regions associated with retrieval success were modulated during both tasks. These findings constrain functional-anatomic accounts of the networks, suggesting that processes associated with priming do not support explicit recognition judgments.