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Griffiths, Benjamin J.; Martín-Buro, María Carmen; Staresina, Bernhard P.; Hanslmayr, Simon and Staudigl, Tobias (12. March 2021): Alpha/beta power decreases during episodic memory formation predict the magnitude of alpha/beta power decreases during subsequent retrieval. In: Neuropsychologia, Vol. 153: p. 107755 [PDF, 3MB]


Episodic memory retrieval is characterised by the vivid reinstatement of information about a personally-experienced event. Growing evidence suggests that this reinstatement is supported by reductions in the spectral power of alpha/beta activity. Given that the amount of information that can be recalled depends on the amount of information that was originally encoded, information-based accounts of alpha/beta activity would suggest that retrieval-related alpha/beta power decreases similarly depend upon decreases in alpha/beta power during encoding. To test this hypothesis, seventeen human participants completed a sequence-learning task while undergoing concurrent MEG recordings. Regression-based analyses were then used to estimate how alpha/beta power decreases during encoding predicted alpha/beta power decreases during retrieval on a trial-by-trial basis. When subjecting these parameter estimates to group-level analysis, we find evidence to suggest that retrieval-related alpha/beta (7–15Hz) power decreases fluctuate as a function of encoding-related alpha/beta power decreases. These results suggest that retrieval-related alpha/beta power decreases are contingent on the decrease in alpha/beta power that arose during encoding. Subsequent analysis uncovered no evidence to suggest that these alpha/beta power decreases reflect stimulus identity, indicating that the contingency between encoding- and retrieval-related alpha/beta power reflects the reinstatement of a neurophysiological operation, rather than neural representation, during episodic memory retrieval.

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