To clarify the involvement of prefrontal cortex in episodic memory, behavioral and event-related potential (ERP) measures of recognition were examined in patients with dorsolateral prefrontal lesions. In controls, recognition accuracy and the ERP old-new effect declined with increasing retention intervals. Although frontal patients showed a higher false-alarm rate to new words, their hit rate to old words and ERP old-new effect were intact, suggesting that recognition processes were not fundamentally altered by prefrontal damage. The opposite behavioral pattern was observed in patients with hippocampal lesions: a normal false-alarm rate and a precipitous decline in hit rate at long lags. The intact ERP effect and the change in response bias during recognition suggest that frontal patients exhibited a deficit in strategic processing or postretrieval monitoring, in contrast to the more purely mnemonic deficit shown by hippocampal patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology