November 28, 2020

Alpha/beta power decreases during episodic memory formation predict the magnitude of alpha/beta power decreases during subsequent retrieval

Episodic memory retrieval is characterised by the vivid reinstatement of information about a personally-experienced event. Growing evidence suggests that the reinstatement of such information is supported by reductions in the spectral power of alpha/beta activity. Given that the amount of information that can be recalled depends on the amount of information that was originally encoded, information-based accounts of alpha/beta activity would suggest that retrieval-related alpha/beta power decreases similarly depend upon decreases in alpha/beta power during encoding. To test this hypothesis, seventeen human participants completed a sequence-learning task while undergoing concurrent MEG recordings. Regression-based analyses were then used to estimate how alpha/beta power decreases during encoding predicted alpha/beta power decreases during retrieval, on a trial-by-trial basis. When subjecting these parameter estimates to group-level analysis, we find evidence to suggest that retrieval-related alpha/beta (7-15Hz) power decreases fluctuate as a function of encoding-related alpha/beta power decreases. These results suggest that retrieval-related alpha/beta power decreases are contingent on the decrease in alpha/beta power that arose during encoding. Subsequent analysis uncovered no evidence to suggest that these alpha/beta power decreases reflect stimulus identity, indicating that the contingency between encoding- and retrieval-related alpha/beta power reflects the reinstatement of a neurophysiological operation, rather than neural representation, during episodic memory retrieval.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.View Full Text

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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