Multiple ways to the prior occurrence of an event: An electrophysiological dissociation of experimental and conceptually driven familiarity in recognition memory
until further notice
SourceBrain Research, 1360, (2010), pp. 106-118
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC NRP
SubjectNeuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology; Neuro- en revalidatiepsychologie
Recent research has shown that familiarity contributes to associative memory when the to-be-associated stimuli are unitized during encoding. However, the specific processes underlying familiarity-based recognition of unitized representations are still indefinite. In this study, we present electrophysiologically dissociable early old/new effects, presumably related to two different kinds of familiarity inherent in associative recognition tasks. In a study-test associative recognition memory paradigm, we employed encoding conditions that established unitized representations of two pre-experimentally unrelated words, e.g. vegetable-bible. We compared event-related potentials (ERP) during the retrieval of these unitized word pairs using different retrieval cues. Word pairs presented in the same order as during unitization at encoding elicited a parietally distributed early old/new effect which we interpret as reflecting conceptually driven familiarity for newly formed concepts. Conversely, word pairs presented in reversed order only elicited a topographically dissociable early effect, i.e. the mid-frontal old/new effect, the putative correlate of experimental familiarity. The late parietal old/new effect, the putative ERP correlate of recollection, was obtained irrespective of word order, though it was larger for words presented in same order. These results indicate that familiarity may not be a unitary process and that different task demands can promote the assessment of conceptually driven familiarity for novel unitized concepts or experimentally-induced increments of experimental familiarity, respectively.
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