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Publication Detail
Reward motivation accelerates the onset of neural novelty signals in humans to 85 milliseconds.
The neural responses that distinguish novel from familiar items in recognition memory tasks are remarkably fast in both humans and non-human primates. In humans, the earliest onsets of neural novelty effects emerge at about ~150-200ms after stimulus onset [1-5]. However, in recognition memory studies with non-human primates, novelty effects can arise as early as 70-80ms [6, 7]. Here, we address the possibility that this large species difference in onset latencies is caused experimentally by the necessity to use reward reinforcement to motivate the detection of novel or familiar items in non-human primates but not in humans. Using magnetoencephalography in humans, we show in two experiments that the onset of neural novelty signals is accelerated from ~200ms to ~85ms if correct recognition memory for either novel or familiar items is rewarded. Importantly, this acceleration is independent of whether it is the detection of the novel or the familiar scenes that is rewarded. Furthermore, this early novelty effect contributed to memory retrieval because neural reward responses, which were contingent upon novelty detection, followed ~100ms later. Thus, under the contextual influence of reward-motivation behaviorally relevant novelty signals emerge much faster than previously held possible in humans.
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Imaging Neuroscience
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