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Enhanced long-term recollection for emotional pictures: Evidence from high-density ERPs


  • This research was supported by a grant funded by the Landesgraduiertenförderung of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

Address reprint requests to: Mathias Weymar or Alfons O. Hamm, Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology, University of Greifswald, Franz-Mehring-Strasse 47, 17487 Greifswald, Germany. E-mail: or


The present study used behavioral and electrophysiological measures to investigate the processes mediating long-term recognition memory for emotional and neutral pictures. The results show enhanced memory recollection for emotional arousing pictures compared to neutral low arousing pictures. In accordance with the behavioral data, we observed enhanced old/new effects in the ERPs for emotionally arousing pictures in the recollection-sensitive old/new component at centro-parietal sites (500–800 ms). Moreover, early old/new effects were present over frontal and parietal sites (300–500 ms) irrespective of picture contents. Analysis of the subjective awareness, indexed by the confidence ratings, showed that the late parietal old/new effect was increased for high confidence responses whereas the early component (300–500 ms) was mainly driven by low confidence responses, an indication for familiarity based recognition processes.

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