Abstract

Modulations of oscillatory electroencephalogram (EEG) activity in the induced gamma and theta frequency ranges (induced gamma and theta band responses; iGBRs: >30 Hz; iTBRs: ∼6 Hz) have been associated with retrieval of information from long-term memory. However, the specific functional role of these two forms of oscillatory activity remains unclear. The present study examines theta- and gamma-oscillations within a dual-process framework, which defines “familiarity” and “recollection” as the two component processes of recognition memory. During encoding, participants were instructed to make “bigger/smaller than a shoebox” or “living/nonliving” decisions for different object pictures. During retrieval “old/new” recognition was followed (for items judged old) by a source discrimination task regarding the decision made for each item at encoding. iGBRs (35–80 Hz; 210–330 msec) were higher for correctly identified “old” relative to “new” objects. Importantly, they did not distinguish between successful and unsuccessful source judgments. In contrast, iTBRs (4–7.5 Hz; 600–1200 msec) were sensitive to source discrimination. We propose that iGBRs mirror early associative processes linked to familiarity-related retrieval processes, whereas iTBRs reflect later onsetting, episodic, recollection-related mechanisms.

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