The timing of encoding-related brain activity observed here is also consistent with the involvement of a preparatory process. The activity started around 1 sec after cue onset and ended just before word onset, similar to what has been observed previously when the input modalities of the cue and word are kept constant (Otten et al., 2010). The relatively late onset of the effect points to a preparatory process engaged in anticipation of the upcoming event rather than a cue-specific process. Interestingly, we observed
an additional selleck chemicals prestimulus effect for auditory words. While the negative frontal effect occurred prior to visual and auditory words, a more posteriorly distributed effect was observed for auditory
words in the easy cue discrimination condition. Activity shortly after the onset of auditory cues was more positive when the following word was later recalled. This effect was maximal over posterior scalp sites, suggesting a contribution of the P300 family of components (Donchin and Coles, 1988). Given the suggested role of the P300 in context updating and working memory, this might not seem surprising. The information about the upcoming input modality delivered by the cues is highly relevant and the better this information is processed, the more effective preparation might be. However, there seems little reason to assume why this would only be relevant for words presented in the auditory modality. We have previously noted that auditory words are special selleck screening library in the learning of short word lists (Galli et al., 2012). Ketotifen The same conclusion is evident from the fact that faster cue discrimination times increased likelihood of recall
for auditory words, whereas recall was less likely for visual words. A special status of auditory information is also apparent from the simple discrimination tasks we gave participants. When visual gratings and auditory tones were presented in isolation, speed of discrimination was identical. This means that discriminations were not inherently easier for one or the other input modality. However, as soon as gratings and tones were presented in the same temporal sequence as used during memorization, discrimination times were slower for auditory decisions even though no words were presented. Although it is not clear how this translates to the positive prestimulus effect seen for auditory words, auditory processing must be especially sensitive to the temporal dynamics of the sequence in which stimuli are embedded. Importantly, the fact that this type of prestimulus activity was again only observed during the easy discrimination task emphasizes the importance of processing resources in the elicitation of prestimulus activity. Brain activity after word onset was also predictive of subsequent memory performance.