Latency of modality-specific reactivation of auditory and visual information during episodic memory retrieval

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This study used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to examine the latency of modality-specific reactivation in the visual and auditory cortices during a recognition task to determine the effects of reactivation on episodic memory retrieval. Nine right-handed healthy young adults participated in the experiment. The experiment consisted of a word-encoding phase and two recognition phases. Three encoding conditions were included: encoding words alone (word-only) and encoding words presented with either related pictures (visual) or related sounds (auditory). The recognition task was conducted in the MEG scanner 15 min after the completion of the encoding phase. After the recognition test, a source-recognition task was given, in which participants were required to choose whether each recognition word was not presented or was presented with which information during the encoding phase. Word recognition in the auditory condition was higher than that in the word-only condition. Confidence-of-recognition scores (d′) and the source-recognition test showed superior performance in both the visual and the auditory conditions compared with the word-only condition. An equivalent current dipoles analysis of MEG data indicated that higher equivalent current dipole amplitudes in the right fusiform gyrus occurred during the visual condition and in the superior temporal auditory cortices during the auditory condition, both 450–550 ms after onset of the recognition stimuli. Results suggest that reactivation of visual and auditory brain regions during recognition binds language with modality-specific information and that reactivation enhances confidence in one’s recognition performance.

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