Abstract

Presenting events in a rhythm has been shown to enhance perception and facilitate responses for stimuli that appear in synchrony with the rhythm, but little is known about how rhythm during encoding influences later recognition. In this study, participants were presented with images of everyday objects in an encoding phase before a recognition task in which they judged whether or not objects were previously presented. Blockwise, object presentation during encoding followed either a rhythmic (constant, predictable) or arrhythmic (random, unpredictable) temporal structure, of which participants were unaware. Recognition was greater for items presented in a rhythmic relative to an arrhythmic manner. During encoding, there was a differential neural activity based on memory effect with larger positivity for rhythmic over arrhythmic stimuli. At recognition, memory-specific ERP components were differentially affected by temporal structure: The FN400 old/new effect was unaffected by rhythmic structure, whereas the late positive component old/new effect was observed only for rhythmically encoded items. Taken together, this study provides new evidence that memory-specific processing at recognition is affected by temporal structure at encoding.

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