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Memory for sequences is a central topic in neuroscience, and decades of studies have investigated the neural mechanisms underlying the coding of a wide array of sequences extended over time. Yet, little is known on the brain mechanisms underlying the recognition of previously memorized versus novel temporal sequences. Moreover, the differential brain processing of single items in an auditory temporal sequence compared to the whole superordinate sequence is not fully understood. In this magnetoencephalography (MEG) study, the items of the temporal sequence were independently linked to local and rapid (2-8 Hz) brain processing, while the whole sequence was associated with concurrent global and slower (0.1-1 Hz) processing involving a widespread network of sequentially active brain regions. Notably, the recognition of previously memorized temporal sequences was associated to stronger activity in the slow brain processing, while the novel sequences required a greater involvement of the faster brain processing. Overall, the results expand on well-known information flow from lower- to higher order brain regions. In fact, they reveal the differential involvement of slow and faster whole brain processing to recognize previously learned versus novel temporal information.

Original publication




Journal article


Cereb Cortex

Publication Date





5524 - 5537


brain dynamics, magnetoencephalography, memory recognition, source reconstruction, temporal sequences, Brain, Magnetoencephalography, Recognition, Psychology, Brain Mapping