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Behav Brain Res. 2010 Apr 2;208(2):502-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2009.12.026. Epub 2010 Jan 4.

Efficient learning produces spontaneous neural repetition suppression in prefrontal cortex.

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Department of Experimental Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Seville, Seville, Spain.


Our study focuses on the physiological effects of repetition on learning and working memory using an adaptation of Luria's Memory Word-Task (LMWT). We assess the hemodynamic response in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) of 13 healthy subjects while completing LMWT. Free word recalls were acquired at the beginning, middle and end of the task. Behavioral results showed that all subjects could recall the complete word list by the 10th trial, which was considered as successful task accomplishment. We observed an attenuation of stimulus-evoked neural activity in prefrontal neurons. Our findings show that the temporal integration of efficient verbal learning is mediated by a mechanism known as neural repetition suppression (NRS). This mechanism facilitates cortical deactivation in DLPFC once learning is successfully completed. This cortical reorganization is interpreted as a progressive optimization of neural responses to produce a more efficient use of neural circuits. NRS could be considered one of the natural mechanisms involved in the processes of memory learning.

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