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ERIC Number: EJ1008479
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-May
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-0096-3445
An Electrophysiological Signature of Summed Similarity in Visual Working Memory
van Vugt, Marieke K.; Sekuler, Robert; Wilson, Hugh R.; Kahana, Michael J.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v142 n2 p412-425 May 2013
Summed-similarity models of short-term item recognition posit that participants base their judgments of an item's prior occurrence on that item's summed similarity to the ensemble of items on the remembered list. We examined the neural predictions of these models in 3 short-term recognition memory experiments using electrocorticographic/depth electrode recordings and scalp electroencephalography. On each experimental trial, participants judged whether a test face had been among a small set of recently studied faces. Consistent with summed-similarity theory, participants' tendency to endorse a test item increased as a function of its summed similarity to the items on the just-studied list. To characterize this behavioral effect of summed similarity, we successfully fit a summed-similarity model to individual participant data from each experiment. Using the parameters determined from fitting the summed-similarity model to the behavioral data, we examined the relation between summed similarity and brain activity. We found that 4-9 Hz theta activity in the medial temporal lobe and 2-4 Hz delta activity recorded from frontal and parietal cortices increased with summed similarity. These findings demonstrate direct neural correlates of the similarity computations that form the foundation of several major cognitive theories of human recognition memory. (Contains 4 tables, 8 figures, and 1 footnote.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany; Massachusetts; Pennsylvania