Event-related potential correlates of interference effects on recognition memory

Kenneth A. Norman, Katharine Tepe, Erika Nyhus, Tim Curran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The question of interference (how new learning affects previously acquired knowledge and vice versa) is a central theoretical issue in episodic memory research, but very few human neuroimaging studies have addressed this question. Here, we used event-related potentials (ERPs) to test the predictions of the complementary learning systems (CLS) model regarding how list strength manipulations (strengthening some, but not all, items on a study list) affect recognition memory. Our analysis focused on the FN400 old-new effect, a hypothesized ERP correlate of familiarity-based recognition, and the parietal old-new effect, a hypothesized ERP correlate of recollection-based recognition. As is predicted by the CLS model, increasing list strength selectively reduced the ERP correlate of recollection-based discrimination, leaving the ERP correlate of familiarity-based discrimination intact. In a second experiment, we obtained converging evidence for the CLS model's predictions, using a remember/know test: Increasing list strength reduced recollection-based discrimination but did not reduce familiarity-based discrimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-43
Number of pages8
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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