Phase of electroencephalography theta oscillation during stimulus encoding affects accuracy of memory recall.
Neuroreport. 2019 Feb 21;:
Authors: Jalali A, Tata MS, Gruber AJ, Luczak A
Oscillatory activity is a ubiquitous property of brain signals, and yet relatively few studies have investigated how the phase of such ongoing oscillations affects our cognition. One of the main findings in this field is that the phase of electroencephalography (EEG) in the alpha band can affect perception of milliseconds-long stimuli. However, the importance of the phase of EEG for processing more naturalistic stimuli, which have a much longer duration, is still not clear. To address this question here, we presented word-nonword pairs, each of which was visible for 5 s and measured the effect of EEG phase during stimulus onset on later memory recall. The task consisted of an encoding (learning) phase in which 20 novel word-nonword pairs were presented, followed by a test phase in which participants were shown one of the seen words with four target nonwords to choose from. We found that memory recall performance was higher when the words during encoding were presented at a descending phase of the theta oscillation. This effect was the strongest in the frontal cortex. These results suggest that the phase of ongoing cortical activity can affect memorization of seconds-long stimuli that are an integral part of many daily tasks.
PMID: 30807530 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]