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.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.