Successful memory encoding is marked by increases in 30-100Hz gamma-band activity in a broad network of brain regions. Activity in the 3-8Hz theta band has also been shown to modulate memory encoding, but this effect has been found to vary in direction across studies. Because of the diversity in memory tasks, and in recording and data-analytic methods, our knowledge of the theta frequency modulations remains limited. The difference in the directionality of these theta effects could arise from a distinction between global cortical and deeper subcortical effects. To address this issue, we examined the spectral correlates of successful memory encoding using intracranial EEG recordings in neurosurgical patients and scalp EEG recordings in healthy controls. We found significant theta (3-8Hz) power modulations (both increases and decreases) and high gamma (44-100Hz) power increases in both samples of participants. These results suggest that (1) there are two separate theta mechanisms supporting memory success, a broad theta decrease present across both the cortex and hippocampus as well as a theta power increase in the frontal cortex, (2) scalp EEG is capable of resolving high frequency gamma activity, and (3) iEEG theta effects are likely not the result of epileptic pathology.
Keywords: EEG; Free-recall; Memory; iEEG.
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