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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

April 2010, Vol. 22, No. 4, Pages 615-617
(doi: 10.1162/jocn.2009.21264)
© 2009 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Familiarity or Conceptual Priming? Good Question! Comment on Stenberg, Hellman, Johansson, and Rosén (2009)
Article PDF (63.62 KB)

Stenberg et al. argued that FN400 brain potentials index familiarity rather than conceptual priming. Their data from a test of name recognition showed that both familiarity and FN400s were influenced by frequency but not fame, whereas separate behavioral measures of priming were influenced by fame but not frequency. However, this apparent dissociation was gravely weakened by confounds in task demands and inadequate behavioral measures of priming. Although Stenberg et al. failed to provide evidence suitable for disentangling neural correlates of familiarity from those of conceptual priming, an analysis of their report can be used to highlight difficulties that remain to be surmounted to understand recognition and the neural events that signal distinct memory functions engaged during recognition.