Prestimulus theta in the human hippocampus predicts subsequent recognition but not recall

Hippocampus. 2014 Dec;24(12):1562-9. doi: 10.1002/hipo.22335. Epub 2014 Aug 25.


Human theta (4-8 Hz) activity in the medial temporal lobe correlates with memory formation; however, the precise role that theta plays in the memory system remains elusive (Hanslmayr and Staudigl, ). Recently, prestimulus theta activity has been associated with successful memory formation, although its specific cognitive role remains unknown (e.g., Fell et al., 2011). In this report, we demonstrate that prestimulus theta in the hippocampus indexes encoding that supports old-new recognition memory but not recall. These findings suggest that human hippocampal prestimulus theta may preferentially participate in the encoding of item information, as opposed to associative information.

Keywords: free recall; hippocampus; item recognition; prestimulus theta.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cluster Analysis
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Theta Rhythm / physiology*