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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

January 1, 2003, Vol. 15, No. 1, Pages 111-135
(doi: 10.1162/089892903321107864)
© 2003 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Time Course of Processes and Representations Supporting Visual Object Identification and Memory
Article PDF (2.57 MB)

Event-related potentials (ERPs) were used to delineate the time course of activation of the processes and representations supporting visual object identification and memory. Following K. Srinivas (1993), 66 young people named objects in canonical or unusual views during study and an indirect memory test. Test views were the same or different from those at study. The first ERP repetition effect and earliest ERP format effect started at ∼150 msec. Multiple ERP repetition effects appeared over time. All but the latest ones were largest for same views, although other aspects of their form specificity varied. Initial ERP format effects support multiple-views-plus-transformation accounts of identification and indicate the timing of processes of object model selection (frontal N350 from 148–250 to 500–700 msec) and view transformation via mental rotation (posterior N400/P600 from 250–356 to 700 msec). Thereafter, a late slow wave reflects a memory process more strongly recruited by different than same views. Overall, the ERP data demonstrate the activation of multiple memory processes over time during an indirect test, with earlier ones (within 148–400 msec) characterized by a pattern of form specificity consistent with the specific identification-related neural process or representational system supporting each memory function.