Mar 9, 2016

Brain oscillations track the formation of episodic memories in the real world

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Benjamin GriffithsSimon Hanslmayr

Abstract

Despite the well-known influence of environmental context on episodic memory, little has been done to enhance contextual richness within the lab. This leaves a blind spot lingering over the neuronal correlates of episodic memory formation in the real world. To address this, we presented participants with series of words to memorise along a pre-designated route across campus. Meanwhile, a mobile EEG system acquired the associated neural activity. Replicating lab-based subsequent memory effects (SMEs), we identified significant low-frequency power decreases, including beta power decreases over the left inferior frontal gyrus. Additionally, the paradigm enabled us to dissociate the oscillatory correlates of temporal and spatial clustering. Specifically, we found spatially clustered items exhibited significantly greater theta power decreases within the left medial temporal lobe than temporally clustered items. These findings go beyond lab-based studies, which are limited in their capabilities to investigate environmental contextual factors that guide memory formation.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Study
Neurons
Spatial Distribution
Malignant Neoplasm of Temporal Lobe
Brain
Environment
Left Temporal Lobe Structure
Memory, Episodic
Entire Temporal Lobe
Laboratory

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