Citation MacKenzie G & Donaldson D (2007) Dissociating recollection from familiarity: electrophysiological evidence that familiarity for faces is associated with a posterior old/new effect. NeuroImage, 36 (2), pp. 454-463. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.12.005
Abstract In recognition memory research, a tension exists between dual-process and single-process models of episodic retrieval. Dual-process models propose that ‘familiarity’ assessment and the ‘recollection’ of contextual information are independent processes, while single process models claim that one common process supports retrieval. Event-related potentials (ERPs) have been used to show dissociations between the mid frontal and the left parietal ERP old/new effects, which have been associated with familiarity and recollection, respectively. While much ERP evidence favours dual-process theory, Yovel and Paller (2004) used faces as retrieval cues to demonstrate that posterior old/new effects index both familiarity and recollection, a finding consistent with single process models. Here we present evidence supporting Yovel and Paller’s claim that a posterior old/new effect indexes familiarity for faces, along with a novel finding that recollection is associated with an anterior old/new effect. Importantly, and in contrast to Yovel and Paller, the old/new effects associated with familiarity and recollection were topographically dissociable, consistent with a dual process view of recognition memory. The neural correlates of familiarity and recollection identified here for faces appear to be different from those typically observed, suggesting that the ERP old/new effects associated with episodic recognition are not the same under all circumstances.