• Learning/Memory;
  • EEG/ERP;
  • Normal volunteers


We examined the degree to which ERP components elicited by items that are isolated from their context, either by their font size (“size isolates”) or by their frequency of usage, are correlated with subsequent immediate recall. Study lists contained (a) 15 words including a size isolate, (b) 14 high frequency (HF) words with one low frequency word (“LF isolate”), or (c) 14 LF words with one HF word. We used spatiotemporal PCA to quantify ERP components. We replicated previously reported P300 subsequent memory effects for size isolates and found additional correlations with recall in the novelty P3, a right lateralized positivity, and a left lateralized slow wave that was distinct from the slow wave correlated with recall for nonisolates. LF isolates also showed evidence of a P300 subsequent memory effect and also elicited the left lateralized subsequent memory effect, supporting a role of distinctiveness in word frequency effects in recall.