Event-related potentials and the recollection of associative information

Michael D. Rugg, Astrid M. Schloerscheidt, Michael C. Doyle, Catherine J. C. Cox, Geoffrey R. Patching

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    67 Citations (Scopus)


    Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded from 13 scalp sites during the performance of an associative recall task. At study, subjects were presented with a series of word pairs and were required to incorporate the two members of each pair into a sentence. At test, the first members of each pair were presented intermixed with an equal number of unstudied items. Subjects were required to discriminate between new and studied (old) words and, for each word judged old, to attempt to recall the word with which it had been associated at study. Compared to the ERPs elicited by new words, the ERPs elicited by words correctly judged to be old and for which the associate was correctly recalled showed a sustained, positive-going shift (the ''parietal old/new effect''). This effect was strongly lateralised to the left hemisphere and was maximal at temporo-parietal electrodes. The effect was absent in ERPs elicited by words that were correctly judged to be old, but for which the studied associate could not be recalled. The findings are taken as support for the idea that the parietal old/new effect reflects neural activity associated with the recollection of specific past episodes, and hence that the effect may index retrieval operations supported by the medial temporal lobe memory system.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)297-304
    Number of pages8
    JournalCognitive Brain Research
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996


    • recognition memory
    • BRAIN
    • recollection
    • episodic memory
    • associative recall


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