Direct human brain recordings have confirmed the presence of high-frequency oscillatory events, termed ripples, during awake behavior. While many prior studies have focused on medial temporal lobe (MTL) ripples during memory retrieval, here we investigate ripples during memory encoding. Specifically, we ask whether ripples during encoding predict whether and how memories are subsequently recalled. Detecting ripples from MTL electrodes implanted in 116 neurosurgical participants (n = 61 male) performing a verbal episodic memory task, we find that encoding ripples do not distinguish recalled from not recalled items in any MTL region, even as high-frequency activity during encoding predicts recall in these same regions. Instead, hippocampal ripples increase during encoding of items that subsequently lead to recall of temporally and semantically associated items during retrieval, a phenomenon known as clustering. This subsequent clustering effect arises specifically when hippocampal ripples co-occur during encoding and retrieval, suggesting that ripples mediate both encoding and reinstatement of episodic memories.

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This post is Copyright: Sakon, J. J., Halpern, D. J., Schonhaut, D. R., Kahana, M. J. | February 22, 2024
Journal of Neuroscience current issue