Send to

Choose Destination

Brain potentials in a memory-scanning task. I. Modality and task effects on potentials to the probes.

Author information

Department of Neurology, University of California, Irvine 92717.


Event-related potentials were measured in normal young subjects during a memory-scanning paradigm modified from one proposed by Sternberg. The stimuli used were verbal (digits) and non-verbal (musical notes) with the verbal stimuli and notes presented acoustically and the verbal stimuli also presented visually. In this paradigm each set of stimuli was presented for memorization, and then, after a 2 sec interval, a probe item appeared and was identified by the subject as belonging or not belonging to the memorized set. Memorized set sizes of 1, 3 and 5 items were studied. The potentials are described in terms of scalp distribution, latency and amplitude, and are compared with behavioral descriptors of performance (accuracy and reaction time). These potentials are also compared with those evoked by an auditory target-detection task ('odd-ball' paradigm) in the same subject at the same session. The potentials evoked by the probe stimuli consisted of a positive (P50-90), negative (N100-150), positive (P185-225) sequence in the first 250 msec, followed by a later, long-lasting (approximately 700 msec) positive component (labeled P3). This positivity consisted of an earlier component (latency of approximately 350-400 msec) with a frontal distribution, followed by a larger and later parietal component. The amplitude of the frontal component and the latency of the parietal component varied with the number of items in the memorized set differently from behavioral reaction times. Stimulus modality also affected both the amplitude and latency of the sustained parietal positive potential. Memory processes associated with the P3 complex in the 'odd-ball' task and the long-lasting positivity in the memory-scanning task are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for eScholarship, California Digital Library, University of California
Loading ...
Support Center