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Alpha/Beta Oscillations Indicate Inhibition of Interfering Visual Memories

Publiceringsår: 2012
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 1953-1961
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Journal of Neuroscience
Volym: 32
Nummer: 6
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Society for Neuroscience


Abstract in Undetermined

Selective retrieval of a specific target memory often leads to the forgetting of related but irrelevant memories. Current cognitive theory states that such retrieval-induced forgetting arises due to inhibition of competing memory traces. To date, however, direct neural evidence for this claim has not been forthcoming. Studies on selective attention suggest that cortical inhibition is mediated by increased brain oscillatory activity in the alpha/beta frequency band. The present study, testing 18 human subjects, investigated whether these mechanisms can be generalized to selective memory retrieval in which competing memories interfere with the retrieval of a target memory. Our experiment was designed so that each cue used to search memory was associated with a target memory and a competitor memory stored in separate brain hemispheres. Retrieval-induced forgetting was observed in a condition in which the competitor memory interfered with target retrieval. Increased oscillatory alpha/beta power was observed over the hemisphere housing the sensory representation of the competitor memory trace and predicted the amount of retrieval-induced forgetting in the subsequent memory test. These results provide the first direct evidence for inhibition of competing memories during episodic memory retrieval and suggest that competitive retrieval is governed by inhibitory mechanisms similar to those employed in selective attention.


  • Psychology


  • ISSN: 1529-2401

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