Oxygenation of the Prefrontal Cortex during Memory Interference


Background: Memory interference occurs when information (or memory) to be retrieved is interrupted by competing stimuli. Proactive interference (PI) occurs when previously acquired information interferes with newly acquired information, whereas retroactive interference (RI) occurs when newly acquired information interferes with previously acquired information. In animal paradigms, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) has been shown to help facilitate pattern separation, and ultimately, attenuate memory interference. Research evaluating the role of the PFC on memory interference among humans is, however, limited. The present study evaluated the relationship between PFC oxygenation on memory interference among humans, with the null hypothesis being that there is no association between PFC oxygenation and memory interference. Methods: A total of 74 participants (Mage = 20.8 years) completed the study. Participants completed a computerized memory interference task using the AB-DE AC-FG paradigm, with PFC oxyhemoglobin levels measured via functional near-infrared spectroscopy. Results: For PI, the change in oxygenated hemoglobin for encoding list 1 and retrieval of list 1 showed moderate evidence for the null hypothesis (BF01 = 4.05 and 3.28, respectively). For RI, the Bayesian analysis also established moderate evidence for the null hypothesis across all memory task time points. Conclusion: Our study demonstrates evidence of the null hypothesis regarding the relationship between PFC oxygenation and memory interference. Future work should continue to investigate this topic to identify mechanistic correlates of memory interference.

Journal of Clinical Medicine