Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cortex. 2008 Jun;44(6):649-64. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2007.12.004. Epub 2007 Dec 23.

Enactment versus conceptual encoding: equivalent item memory but different source memory.

Author information

  • 1Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, MA, USA; Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.


It has been suggested that performing a physical action (enactment) is an optimally effective encoding task, due to the incorporation of motoric information in the episodic memory trace, and later retrieval of that information. The current study contrasts old/new recognition of objects after enactment to a conceptual encoding task of cost estimation. Both encoding tasks yielded high accuracy, and robust differences in brain activity as compared to new objects, but no differences between encoding tasks. These results are not supportive of the idea that encoding by enactment leads to the spontaneous retrieval of motoric information. When participants were asked to discriminate between the two classes of studied objects during a source memory task, perform-encoded objects elicited higher accuracy and different brain activity than cost-encoded objects. The extent and nature of what was retrieved from memory thus depended on its utility for the assigned memory test: object information during the old/new recognition test, but additional information about the encoding task when necessary for a source memory test. Event-related potentials (ERPs) recorded during the two memory tests showed two orthogonal effects during an early (300-800 msec) time window: a differentiation between studied and unstudied objects, and a test-type (retrieval orientation) effect that was equivalent for old and new objects. Later brain activity (800-1300 msec) differentiated perform- from cost-encoded objects, but only during the source memory test, suggesting temporally distinct phases of retrieval.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk