Event-related rTMS at encoding affects differently deep and shallow memory traces

Iglis Innocenti, Fabio Giovannelli, Massimo Cincotta, Matteo Feurra, Nicola R. Polizzotto, Giovanni Bianco, Stefano F. Cappa, Simone Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The "level of processing" effect is a classical finding of the experimental psychology of memory. Actually, the depth of information processing at encoding predicts the accuracy of the subsequent episodic memory performance. When the incoming stimuli are analyzed in terms of their meaning (semantic, or deep, encoding), the memory performance is superior with respect to the case in which the same stimuli are analyzed in terms of their perceptual features (shallow encoding).As suggested by previous neuroimaging studies and by some preliminary findings with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), the left prefrontal cortex may play a role in semantic processing requiring the allocation of working memory resources. However, it still remains unclear whether deep and shallow encoding share or not the same cortical networks, as well as how these networks contribute to the "level of processing" effect. To investigate the brain areas casually involved in this phenomenon, we applied event-related repetitive TMS (rTMS) during deep (semantic) and shallow (perceptual) encoding of words. Retrieval was subsequently tested without rTMS interference. RTMS applied to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) abolished the beneficial effect of deep encoding on memory performance, both in terms of accuracy (decrease) and reaction times (increase). Neither accuracy nor reaction times were instead affected by rTMS to the right DLPFC or to an additional control site excluded by the memory process (vertex). The fact that online measures of semantic processing at encoding were unaffected suggests that the detrimental effect on memory performance for semantically encoded items took place in the subsequent consolidation phase. These results highlight the specific causal role of the left DLPFC among the wide left-lateralized cortical network engaged by long-term memory, suggesting that it probably represents a crucial node responsible for the improved memory performance induced by semantic processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-330
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroImage
Volume53
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010

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Semantics
Prefrontal Cortex
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Reaction Time
Experimental Psychology
Episodic Memory
Long-Term Memory
Automatic Data Processing
Short-Term Memory
Neuroimaging
Brain

Keywords

  • Broca's area
  • Encoding
  • Episodic memory
  • Retrieval

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology

Cite this

Innocenti, I., Giovannelli, F., Cincotta, M., Feurra, M., Polizzotto, N. R., Bianco, G., ... Rossi, S. (2010). Event-related rTMS at encoding affects differently deep and shallow memory traces. NeuroImage, 53(1), 325-330. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.06.011

Event-related rTMS at encoding affects differently deep and shallow memory traces. / Innocenti, Iglis; Giovannelli, Fabio; Cincotta, Massimo; Feurra, Matteo; Polizzotto, Nicola R.; Bianco, Giovanni; Cappa, Stefano F.; Rossi, Simone.

In: NeuroImage, Vol. 53, No. 1, 10.2010, p. 325-330.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Innocenti, I, Giovannelli, F, Cincotta, M, Feurra, M, Polizzotto, NR, Bianco, G, Cappa, SF & Rossi, S 2010, 'Event-related rTMS at encoding affects differently deep and shallow memory traces', NeuroImage, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 325-330. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.06.011
Innocenti I, Giovannelli F, Cincotta M, Feurra M, Polizzotto NR, Bianco G et al. Event-related rTMS at encoding affects differently deep and shallow memory traces. NeuroImage. 2010 Oct;53(1):325-330. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.06.011
Innocenti, Iglis ; Giovannelli, Fabio ; Cincotta, Massimo ; Feurra, Matteo ; Polizzotto, Nicola R. ; Bianco, Giovanni ; Cappa, Stefano F. ; Rossi, Simone. / Event-related rTMS at encoding affects differently deep and shallow memory traces. In: NeuroImage. 2010 ; Vol. 53, No. 1. pp. 325-330.
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