Spontaneous Pre-encoding Activation of Neural Patterns Predicts Memory

Talya Sadeh, Janice Chen, Yonatan Goshen-Gottstein and Morris Moscovitch

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Received: 24th December 17

It is well-established that what determines whether information will be remembered depends not ‎only on encoding and retrieval, but also on the neural processes that follow encoding. Extending ‎the consideration of peri-encoding processes further in time, recent studies have indicated that ‎memory for an experience may also be affected by processes occurring prior to that experience. ‎We hypothesized that, in humans, spontaneous pre-encoding patterns are reinstated during ‎succesful encoding. Individuals studied and retrieved lists of words while undergoing fMRI-‎scanning. Multivoxel hippocampal patterns during resting periods prior to encoding resembled ‎hippocampal patterns at encoding most strongly for items that were subsequently remembered. ‎Furthermore, across subjects, the magnitude of similarity correlated with a behavioural measure ‎of episodic recall. The results indicate that the neural scaffold of a memory trace is spontaneously ‎laid even before ever perceiving the to-be-encoded information.‎

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

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