Post-encoding Reactivation Is Related to Learning of Episodes in Humans

Xiongbo Wu, Xavier Viñals, Aya Ben-Yakov, Bernhard P. Staresina, Lluís Fuentemilla*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Prior animal and human studies have shown that post-encoding reinstatement plays an important role in organizing the temporal sequence of unfolding episodes in memory. Here, we investigated whether post-encoding reinstatement serves to promote the encoding of “one-shot” episodic learning beyond the temporal structure in humans. In Experiment 1, participants encoded sequences of pictures depicting unique and meaningful episodic-like events. We used representational similarity analysis on scalp EEG recordings during encoding and found evidence of rapid picture-elicited EEG pattern reinstatement at episodic offset (around 500 msec post-episode). Memory reinstatement was not observed between successive elements within an episode, and the degree of memory reinstatement at episodic offset predicted later recall for that episode. In Experiment 2, participants encoded a shuffled version of the picture sequences from Experiment 1, ren-dering each episode meaningless to the participant but temporally structured as in Experiment 1, and we found no evidence of memory reinstatement at episodic offset. These results suggest that post-encoding memory reinstatement is akin to the rapid formation of unique and meaningful episodes that unfold over time.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)74-89
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

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© 2022 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


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