Repeated exposure to a visual stimulus is associated with corresponding reductions in neural activity, particularly within visual cortical areas. It has been argued that this phenomenon of repetition suppression is related to increases in processing fluency or implicit memory. However, repetition of a visual stimulus can also be considered in terms of the similarity of the pattern of neural activity elicited at each exposure-a measure that has recently been linked to explicit memory. Despite the popularity of each of these measures, direct comparisons between the two have been limited, and the extent to which they differentially (or similarly) relate to behavioral measures of memory has not been clearly established. In the present study, we compared repetition suppression and pattern similarity as predictors of both implicit and explicit memory. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we scanned 20 participants while they viewed and categorized repeated presentations of scenes. Repetition priming (facilitated categorization across repetitions) was used as a measure of implicit memory, and subsequent scene recognition was used as a measure of explicit memory. We found that repetition priming was predicted by repetition suppression in prefrontal, parietal, and occipitotemporal regions; however, repetition priming was not predicted by pattern similarity. In contrast, subsequent explicit memory was predicted by pattern similarity (across repetitions) in some of the same occipitotemporal regions that exhibited a relationship between priming and repetition suppression; however, explicit memory was not related to repetition suppression. This striking double dissociation indicates that repetition suppression and pattern similarity differentially track implicit and explicit learning.
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