Regional and inter-regional theta oscillation during episodic novelty processing

Gwan Taek Lee, Chany Lee, Kyung Hwan Kim, Ki Young Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Recent event-related potential (ERP) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies suggest that novelty processing may be involved in processes that recognize the meaning of a novel sound, during which widespread cortical regions including the right prefrontal cortex are engaged. However, it remains unclear how those cortical regions are functionally integrated during novelty processing. Because theta oscillation has been assumed to have a crucial role in memory operations, we examined local and inter-regional neural synchrony of theta band activity during novelty processing. Fifteen right-handed healthy university students participated in this study. Subjects performed an auditory novelty oddball task that consisted of the random sequence of three types of stimuli such as a target (1000. Hz pure tone), novel (familiar environmental sounds such as dog bark, buzz, car crashing sound and so on), and standard sounds (950. Hz pure tone). Event-related spectra perturbation (ERSP) and the phase-locking value (PLV) were measured from human scalp EEG during task. Non-parametric statistical tests were applied to test for significant differences between stimulus novelty and stimulus targets in ERSP and PLV. The novelty P3 showed significant higher amplitude and shorter latency compared with target P3 in frontocentral regions. Overall, theta activity was significantly higher in the novel stimuli compared with the target stimuli. Specifically, the difference in theta power between novel and target stimuli was most significant in the right frontal region. This right frontal theta activity was accompanied by phase synchronization with the left temporal region. Our results imply that theta phase synchronization between right frontal and left temporal regions underlie the retrieval of memory traces for unexpected but familiar sounds from long term memory in addition to working memory retrieval or novelty encoding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-75
Number of pages6
JournalBrain and Cognition
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Research Resettlement Fund for the new faculty of Seoul National University.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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