Background: Long-term recognition memory depends both on initial encoding and on subsequent recognition processes. Objective: In this study we aimed at improving long-term memory by modulating posterior parietal brain activity during the encoding process. If this area is causally involved in memory encoding, its facilitation should lead to behavioral improvement. Based on the dual-process memory framework, we also expected that the neuromodulation would dissociate subsequent familiarity-based and recollection-based recognition. Methods: We investigated the role of the posterior parietal brain oscillations in facial memory formation in three separate experiments using electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and model-driven, multi-electrode transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS). Results: Using fMRI and EEG, we confirmed that the right posterior parietal cortex is an essential node that promotes the encoding of long-term memories. We found that single-trial low theta power in this region predicts subsequent long-term recognition. On this basis, we fine-tuned the spatial and frequency settings of tACS during memory encoding. Model-driven tACS over the right posterior brain area augmented subsequent long-term recognition memory and particularly the familiarity of the observed stimuli. The recollection process, and short-term task performance as control remained unchanged. Control stimulation over the left hemisphere had no behavioral effect. Conclusion: We conclude that the right posterior brain area is crucial in long-term memory encoding.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank Prof. Andrea Antal for her support and Prof. Thomas Crozier for his comments on the manuscript. This research was financially supported by DFG PA 419/15-1 . W.P. serves on the scientific advisory board of Precisis AG and holds a patent on transcranial deep-brain stimulation. Other authors declare no competing interests. Appendix A
- Facial memory
- Long-term memory
- Parietal cortex
- Theta rhythm