Human Brain Dynamics Reflect the Correctness and Presentation Modality of Physics Concept Memory Retrieval

Chih Ping Liang, Hsiao-Ching She*, Li Yu Huang, Wen Chi Chou, Sheng-Chang Chen, Tzyy Ping Jung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Human memory retrieval is the core cognitive process of the human brain whenever it is processing the information. Less study has focused on exploring the neural correlates of the memory retrieval of scientific concepts when presented in word and picture modalities. Fewer studies have investigated the differences in the involved brain regions and how the brain dynamics in these regions would associate with the accuracy of the memory retrieval process. Therefore, this study specifically focused on investigating the human brain dynamics of participants when they retrieve physics concepts in word vs. pictorial modalities, and whether electroencephalogram (EEG) activities can predict the correctness of the retrieval of physics concepts. The results indicated that word modality induced a significant stronger right frontal theta augmentation than pictorial modality during the physics concepts retrieval process, whereas the picture modality induced a significantly greater right parietal alpha suppression than the word modality throughout the retrieval process spurred by the physics concept presentations. In addition, greater frontal midline theta augmentation was observed for incorrect responses than the correct responses during retrieve physics concepts. Moreover, the frontal midline theta power has greater negative predictive power for predicting the accuracy of physics concepts retrieval. In summary, the participants were more likely to retrieve physics concepts correctly if a lower amount of theta were allocated during the maintaining period from 2,000 ms through 3,500 ms before making responses. It provides insight for our future application of brain computer interface (BCI) in real-time science learning. This study implies that the lower frontal midline theta power is associated with a lower degree of cognitive control and active maintenance of representations as participants approach a correct answer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number331
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - 31 Aug 2020


  • brain dynamics
  • correctness of retrieval
  • memory retrieval
  • physics concept
  • presentation modality


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