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Although previous research suggests that genetic variation in dopaminergic genes may affect recognition memory, the role dopamine transporter expression may have on the behavioral and EEG correlates of recognition memory has not been well established.


The study aims to reveal how individual differences in dopaminergic functioning due to genetic variations in the dopamine transporter gene influences behavioral and EEG correlates of recognition memory.


Fifty‐eight participants performed an item recognition task. Participants were asked to retrieve 200 previously presented words while brain activity was recorded with EEG. Regions of interest were established in scalp locations associated with recognition memory. Mean ERP amplitudes and event‐related spectral perturbations when correctly remembering old items (hits) and recognizing new items (correct rejections) were compared as a function of dopamine transporter group.


Participants in the dopamine transporter group that codes for increased dopamine transporter expression (10/10 homozygotes) display slower reaction times compared to participants in the dopamine transporter group associated with the expression of fewer dopamine transporters (9R‐carriers). 10/10 homozygotes further displayed differences in ERP and oscillatory activity compared to 9R‐carriers. 10/10 homozygotes fail to display the left parietal old/new effect, an ERP signature of recognition memory associated with the amount of information retrieved. 10/10 homozygotes also displayed greater decreases of alpha and beta oscillatory activity during item memory retrieval compared to 9R‐carriers.


Compared to 9R‐carriers, 10/10 homozygotes display slower hit and correct rejection reaction times, an absence of the left parietal old/new effect, and greater decreases in alpha and beta oscillatory activity during recognition memory. These results suggest that dopamine transporter polymorphisms influence recognition memory.



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Brain and Behavior



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This is an article published in Brain and Behavior in 2017, available online: