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Publication Detail
Medial temporal theta state before an event predicts episodic encoding success in humans.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Guderian S, Schott BH, Richardson-Klavehn A, Duzel E
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    5365, 5370
  • Journal:
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Print ISSN:
We report a human electrophysiological brain state that predicts successful memory for events before they occur. Using magnetoencephalographic recordings of brain activity during episodic memory encoding, we show that amplitudes of theta oscillations shortly preceding the onsets of words were higher for later recalled than for later forgotten words. Furthermore, single-trial analyses revealed that recall rate in all 24 participants tested increased as a function of increasing pre-stimulus theta amplitude. This positive correlation was independent of whether participants were preparing for semantic or phonemic stimulus processing, thus likely signifying a specific memory-related theta state rather than a preparatory task set. Source analysis located this theta state to the medial temporal lobe, a region known to be critical for encoding and recall. These findings provide new perspectives on mechanisms that modulate memory formation in humans, and open a new area for improving memory through theta-related brain states.
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