Left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) is a critical neural substrate for the resolution of proactive interference (PI) in working memory. We hypothesized that left IFG achieves this by controlling the influence of familiarity- versus recollection-based information about memory probes. Consistent with this idea, we observed evidence for an early (200 msec)-peaking signal corresponding to memory probe familiarity and a late (500 msec)-resolving signal corresponding to full accrual of trial-related contextual (“recollection-based”) information. Next, we applied brief trains of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) time locked to these mnemonic signals, to left IFG and to a control region. Only early rTMS of left IFG produced a modulation of the false alarm rate for high-PI probes. Additionally, the magnitude of this effect was predicted by individual differences in susceptibility to PI. These results suggest that left IFG-based control may bias the influence of familiarity- and recollection-based signals on recognition decisions.

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