The computer-based Rutgers Acquired Equivalence test (RAET) is a widely used paradigm to test the function of subcortical structures in visual associative learning. The test consists of an acquisition (pair learning) and a test (rule transfer) phase, associated with the function of the basal ganglia and the hippocampi, respectively. Obviously, such a complex task also requires cortical involvement. To investigate the activity of different cortical areas during this test, 64-channel EEG recordings were recorded in 24 healthy volunteers. Fast-Fourier and Morlet wavelet convolution analyses were performed on the recordings. The most robust power changes were observed in the theta (4-7 Hz) and gamma (>30 Hz) frequency bands, in which significant power elevation was observed in the vast majority of the subjects, over the parieto-occipital and temporo-parietal areas during the acquisition phase. The involvement of the frontal areas in the acquisition phase was remarkably weaker. No remarkable cortical power elevations were found in the test phase. In fact, the power of the alpha and beta bands was significantly decreased over the parietooccipital areas. We conclude that the initial acquisition of the image pairs requires strong cortical involvement, but once the pairs have been learned, neither retrieval nor generalization requires strong cortical contribution.
Puszta, A., Katona, X., Bodosi, B., Pertich, Á., Nyujtó, D., Braunitzer, G., & Nagy, A. (2018). Cortical power-density changes of different frequency bands in visually guided associative learning: A human eeg-study. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00188