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Title: Electrophysiological investigations of recognition memory: The role of pre-existing representations in recollection
Author(s): MacKenzie, Graham
Supervisor(s): Donaldson, David I.
Keywords: memory
long-term memory
recognition memory
ERP old/new effect
face recognition
Issue Date: Oct-2007
Publisher: University of Stirling
Citation: MacKenzie, G. & Donaldson, D.I. (2007). Dissociating recollection from familiarity: Electrophysiological evidence that familiarity for faces is associated with a posterior old/new effect. NeuroImage, 36, 454 - 463.
Abstract: Dual-process models of recognition memory propose that recognition memory can be supported by either a general sense of familiarity or the recollection of the encoding context. One source of evidence supporting dual-process models comes from event-related potential (ERP) studies of recognition memory, which have identified distinct patterns of neural activity associated with familiarity and recollection (the mid frontal and left parietal old/new effects, respectively). In this thesis, dual-process accounts of recognition memory were investigated in a series of ERP studies using three categories of stimulus: previously unknown faces, famous faces, and names. For previously unknown faces, familiarity was associated with activity over posterior scalp electrodes while recollection was associated with topographically dissociable activity over anterior electrodes. These dissociable patterns of activity support dual-process models. However, the typical pattern of old/new effects was only observed for stimuli associated with pre-existing representations (i.e., names and famous faces), suggesting that the presence/absence of pre-existing representations may determine the particular retrieval processes that support recognition memory. Furthermore, recollection was associated with two different patterns of activity (anterior and left parietal effects), suggesting that recollection is not a homogenous process. Dual-process theories may represent an important starting point for investigating recognition memory, but neither familiarity nor recollection appear to be functionally homogenous processes when theorizing is constrained by the analysis of scalp recorded electrophysiological activity.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Natural Sciences

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