The relation between various ERP components generated during encoding of a word and its subsequent recall were investigated using a “rote” serial-order and an “elaborative” category memory task. Words (flashed separately) were time-locked to EEG recordings from 21 cortical sites. ERP components from the five subjects having the highest recall scores were compared to the five lowest scoring subjects. Results based on the P200 peak amplitude data as well as the N400 and late positive component peak amplitude and latency data suggest that anterior and posterior distributional differences are elicited during encoding of words for rote and elaborative memory tasks. Furthermore, strong individual differences in these patterns were found as a function of task. A tentative argument was made that the obtained anterior and posterior differences may index different word feature selection and encoding processes, which are differentially utilized by high and low recallers.
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