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Preparation breeds success: Brain activity predicts remembering

Herron, Jane E. ORCID: and Evans, Lisa H. ORCID: 2018. Preparation breeds success: Brain activity predicts remembering. Cortex 106 , pp. 1-11. 10.1016/j.cortex.2018.04.009

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Successful retrieval of episodic information is thought to involve the adoption of memory states that ensure that stimulus events are treated as episodic memory cues (retrieval mode) and which can bias retrieval toward specific memory contents (retrieval orientation). The neural correlates of these memory states have been identified in many neuroimaging studies, yet critically there is no direct evidence that they facilitate retrieval success. We cued participants before each test item to prepare to complete an episodic (retrieve the encoding task performed on the item at study) or a non-episodic task. Our design allowed us to separate event-related potentials (ERPs) elicited by the preparatory episodic cue according to the accuracy of the subsequent memory judgment. We predicted that a correlate of retrieval orientation should be larger in magnitude preceding correct source judgments than that preceding source errors. This hypothesis was confirmed. Preparatory ERPs at bilateral frontal sites were significantly more positive-going when preceding correct source judgments than when preceding source errors or correct responses in a non-episodic baseline task. Furthermore this effect was not evident prior to recognized items associated with incorrect source judgments. This pattern of results indicates a direct contribution of retrieval orientation to the recovery of task-relevant information and highlights the value of separating preparatory neural activity at retrieval according to subsequent memory accuracy. Moreover, at a more general level this work demonstrates the important role of pre-stimulus processing in ecphory, which has remained largely neglected to date.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the CC-BY license.
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0010-9452
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 June 2018
Date of Acceptance: 12 April 2018
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 23:37

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