Article abstract

Nature Neuroscience 8, 1228 - 1233 (2005)
Published online: 31 July 2005 | doi:10.1038/nn1515

Reductions in neural activity underlie behavioral components of repetition priming

Gagan S Wig1, Scott T Grafton1, Kathryn E Demos1 & William M Kelley1

Repetition priming is a nonconscious form of memory that is accompanied by reductions in neural activity when an experience is repeated. To date, however, there is no direct evidence that these neural reductions underlie the behavioral advantage afforded to repeated material. Here we demonstrate a causal linkage between neural and behavioral priming in humans. fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) was used in combination with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to target and disrupt activity in the left frontal cortex during repeated classification of objects. Left-frontal TMS disrupted both the neural and behavioral markers of priming. Neural priming in early sensory regions was unaffected by left-frontal TMS—a finding that provides evidence for separable conceptual and perceptual components of priming.

  1. Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, USA.

Correspondence to: Gagan S Wig1 e-mail:


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Making the causal link: frontal cortex activity and repetition priming

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