Neural basis for successful encoding and retrieval of prospective memory

Yan Ni Chen, Chun Yan Guo, Yang Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Prospective memory (PM) refers to memory for future intentions. Difference due to memory (Dm effect) is the difference in neural activity related to stimuli that were subsequently remembered or forgotten. Using event-related potentials (ERPs), the present study investigated the Dm effect for PM using a subsequent task-switching paradigm. The results showed that a Dm effect of ERP P150 was more positive-going for later PM hit trials than for later PM forgotten trials during 100-200 ms. This Dm effect may reflect the process for the production of future intention or the process for attention. Consistent with previously reported Dm effects of other types of memory, we found that the fbN2 (250-280 ms) and late positivity component (400-700 ms) were stronger in later PM hit trials than in forgotten trials. The fbN2 was evoked by Chinese characters. The late positivity component was related to the precise encoding process. In conclusion, because of the early P150, PM encoding appears to be somewhat different from previously identified Dm effects. However, further research is needed. Our findings reveal that Dm effects of PM share similar characteristics with known Dm effects of other types of episodic memory after the very early stage of neural processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-587
Number of pages8
JournalScience China Life Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 30870760), Ministry of Education of China (Grant No. 20101108110004), and the Key Foundation of Beijing Municipal Commission of Education (Grant No. KZ201010028029) to Guo ChunYan. The authors gratefully acknowledge R. West (Iowa State University, USA) for helpful discussion at the design stage of the study.


  • P150
  • difference due to memory effect
  • event-related potential
  • late positivity component
  • prospective memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Environmental Science (all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)


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