Electrophysiological correlates of the perceptual fluency effect on recognition memory in different fluency contexts

Wei Wang, Bingbing Li, Mingzhu Hou, Michael D. Rugg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


The present study used event-related potentials (ERPs) to investigate the contribution of perceptual fluency to recognition memory in different fluency contexts. In a recognition memory test with a modified remember-know paradigm, we employed conceptually impoverished items (kaleidoscope images) as stimuli and manipulated the perceptual fluency of recognition test cues through masked repetition priming. There were two fluency context conditions. In the random fluency context (RC) condition, primed and unprimed trials were randomly inter-mixed. In the blocked fluency context (BC) condition, primed and unprimed trials were grouped into blocks. Behavioral results showed that priming elevated the incidence of remember hits and the accuracy of remember judgements in the RC condition; no such effects were evident in the BC condition. In addition, priming effects on reaction times were found only for remember hit responses in the RC condition. The ERP results revealed an early100-200 ms effect related to masked repetition priming, which took the form of greater positivity for primed than unprimed trials. This effect was modulated neither by fluency context or response type. The present findings suggest that perceptual fluency induced by masked repetition priming affects recollection-related memory judgments in a specific fluency context and indicate that relative, rather absolute, fluency plays a critical role in influencing recognition memory judgments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107639
Early online date29 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • ERP
  • Fluency context
  • Perceptual fluency
  • Recognition memory

Cite this