The effect of encoding manipulation on word-stem cued recall: an event-related potential study.
ABSTRACT The purpose of the present study was to find out whether the neural correlates of explicit retrieval from episodic memory would vary according to conditions at encoding when the words were presented in separate study/test blocks. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while participants performed a word-stem cued-recall task. Deeply (semantically) studied words were associated with higher levels of recall and faster response times than shallowly (lexically) studied words. Robust ERP old/new effects were observed for each encoding condition. They varied in magnitude, being largest in the semantic condition. As expected, scalp distributions also differed: for deeply studied words, the old/new effect resembled that found in previous ERP studies of word-stem cued-recall tasks (parietal and right frontal effects, between 400-800 and 800-1100 ms post-stimulus), whereas for shallowly studied words, the parietal old/new effect was absent in the latter latency window. These results can be interpreted as reflecting access to different kinds of memory representation depending on the nature of the processing engaged during encoding. Furthermore, differences in the ERPs elicited by new items indicate that subjects adopted different processing strategies in the test blocks following each encoding condition.