Neural correlates of word-stem priming

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The purpose of this study was to identify the neural correlates of implicit memory in a word-stem completion task. Given that both explicit and implicit retrieval tend to occur in this type of memory task, conventional analyses of old/new event-related potential effects are equivocal. To overcome this problem, depth of processing was manipulated and subjective awareness measured. From 400 ms poststimulus, event-related potentials evoked by stems completed with studied words were more positive than those evoked by stems completed with unstudied items. This difference was maximal at parietooccipital electrode sites. Event-related potentials were not modulated by either depth of processing or awareness. Behavioral and event-related potential data converged to indicate that the old/new effect reflects processes either contributing to, or contingent upon, implicit memory retrieval.

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