Event-related potentials indicate that fluency can be interpreted as familiarity.

Neuropsychologia

PubMedID: 26432342

Bruett H, Leynes PA. Event-related potentials indicate that fluency can be interpreted as familiarity. Neuropsychologia. 2015;7841-50.
Recent evidence suggests that fluency may be capable of supporting recognition independently of familiarity. This hypothesis was further tested in the present study. 29 participants encoded name-brand and off-brand products in an incidental task. PARTICIPANTS
then judged whether the product was old or new during two tests with products from one category (i.e. , only name-brand or only off-brand products) and a mixed test (where both name-brand and off-brand products were shown). The ERP data elicited by off-brand products varied as a function of test format. During the mixed test, off-brand products were correlated with a FN400 effect, whereas a fluency ERP (old ERPs were more negative than new at parietal electrodes 225-400ms) was observed during the other test. Importantly, no FN400 was detected during this test. The ERP results suggest that viewing the off-brand products during the mixed test produced a familiarity experience; however, fluency supported recognition when viewing off-brand products on the other test.

THE RESULTS
are strong evidence that top-down processing of visual features during recognition interprets the information relative to the context.This process results in either fluency or, in other contexts, it is interpreted as familiarity as the Discrepancy-Attribution Hypothesis (Whittlesea and Williams, 2001a, 2001b) contends.