Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 220-235

First online:

The time course of episodic associative retrieval: Electrophysiological correlates of cued recall of unimodal and crossmodal pair-associate learning

  • Roni TibonAffiliated withSchool of Psychology and Unit for Applied Neuroscience, The Interdisciplinary Center
  • , Daniel A. LevyAffiliated withSchool of Psychology and Unit for Applied Neuroscience, The Interdisciplinary Center Email author 

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Little is known about the time course of processes supporting episodic cued recall. To examine these processes, we recorded event-related scalp electrical potentials during episodic cued recall following pair-associate learning of unimodal object-picture pairs and crossmodal object-picture and sound pairs. Successful cued recall of unimodal associates was characterized by markedly early scalp potential differences over frontal areas, while cued recall of both unimodal and crossmodal associates were reflected by subsequent differences recorded over frontal and parietal areas. Notably, unimodal cued recall success divergences over frontal areas were apparent in a time window generally assumed to reflect the operation of familiarity but not recollection processes, raising the possibility that retrieval success effects in that temporal window may reflect additional mnemonic processes beyond familiarity. Furthermore, parietal scalp potential recall success differences, which did not distinguish between crossmodal and unimodal tasks, seemingly support attentional or buffer accounts of posterior parietal mnemonic function but appear to constrain signal accumulation, expectation, or representational accounts.


Episodic memory Cued recall ERP Recollection Familiarity Parietal lobes