Abstract

Dual process models suggest that recognition memory is supported by familiarity and recollection processes. Previous research administering amnesic drugs and measuring ERPs during recognition memory have provided evidence for separable neural correlates of familiarity and recollection. This study examined the effect of midazolam-induced amnesia on memory for details and the proposed ERP correlates of recognition. Midazolam or saline was administered while subjects studied oriented pictures of common objects. ERPs were recorded during a recognition test 1 day later. Subjects' discrimination of old and new pictures as well as orientation discrimination was worse when they were given midazolam instead of saline. As predicted, the parietal old/new effect was decreased with the administration of midazolam. However, weaker effects on FN400 old/new effects were also observed. These results provide converging pharmacological and electrophysiological evidence that midazolam primarily affects recollection as indexed by parietal ERP old/new effects and memory for orientation, while also exerting some weaker effects on familiarity as indexed by FN400 old/new effects.

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