Recognition of faces and names: multimodal physiological correlates of memory and executive function

Meghan B. Mitchell, Steven D. Shirk, Donald G. McLaren, Jessica S. Dodd, Ali Ezzati, Brandon A. Ally, Alireza Atri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We sought to characterize electrophysiological, eye-tracking and behavioral correlates of face-name recognition memory in healthy younger adults using high-density electroencephalography (EEG), infrared eye-tracking (ET), and neuropsychological measures. Twenty-one participants first studied 40 face-name (FN) pairs; 20 were presented four times (4R) and 20 were shown once (1R). Recognition memory was assessed by asking participants to make old/new judgments for 80 FN pairs, of which half were previously studied items and half were novel FN pairs (N). Simultaneous EEG and ET recording were collected during recognition trials. Comparisons of event-related potentials (ERPs) for correctly identified FN pairs were compared across the three item types revealing classic ERP old/new effects including 1) relative positivity (1R > N) bi-frontally from 300 to 500 ms, reflecting enhanced familiarity, 2) relative positivity (4R > 1R and 4R > N) in parietal areas from 500 to 800 ms, reflecting enhanced recollection, and 3) late frontal effects (1R > N) from 1000 to 1800 ms in right frontal areas, reflecting post-retrieval monitoring. ET analysis also revealed significant differences in eye movements across conditions. Exploration of cross-modality relationships suggested associations between memory and executive function measures and the three ERP effects. Executive function measures were associated with several indicators of saccadic eye movements and fixations, which were also associated with all three ERP effects. This novel characterization of face-name recognition memory performance using simultaneous EEG and ET reproduced classic ERP and ET effects, supports the construct validity of the multimodal FN paradigm, and holds promise as an integrative tool to probe brain networks supporting memory and executive functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-423
Number of pages16
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Cognition
  • Electroencephalography
  • Event-related potentials
  • Eye tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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