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J Neurophysiol. 2005 Jul;94(1):688-98. Epub 2005 Mar 9.

Transient disruption of ventrolateral prefrontal cortex during verbal encoding affects subsequent memory performance.

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1
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Program, Stanford University, California, USA. kahn@mit.edu

Abstract

Episodic memory supports conscious remembrance of everyday experience. Prior functional neuroimaging data indicate that episodic encoding during phonological task performance is correlated with activation in bilateral posterior ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (pVLPFC), although uncertainty remains regarding whether these prefrontal regions make necessary contributions to episodic memory formation. Using functional MRI data to guide application of single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (spTMS), this study examined the necessity of left and right pVLPFC for episodic encoding (as expressed through subsequent memory performance). To assess the timing of critical computations, pVLPFC function was transiently disrupted at different poststimulus onset times while subjects made syllable decisions about visually presented familiar and unfamiliar words; subsequent memory for these stimuli was measured. Results revealed that left pVLPFC disruption during encoding of familiar words impaired subsequent memory, expressed as a decline in recognition confidence, with disruption being maximal at 380 ms after stimulus onset. In contrast, right pVLPFC disruption facilitated subsequent memory for familiar words, expressed as an increase in medium confidence recognition, with this facilitation being maximal at 380 ms. Finally, phonological (syllable) decision accuracy was facilitated by right pVLPFC disruption, with this effect being maximal at 340 ms, but was unaffected by left pVLPFC disruption. These findings suggest that left pVLPFC mechanisms onset between 300 and 400 ms during phonological processing of words, with these mechanisms appearing necessary for effective episodic encoding. In contrast, disruption of correlated mechanisms in right pVLPFC facilitates encoding, perhaps by inducing a functional shift in the mechanisms engaged during learning.

PMID:
15758048
DOI:
10.1152/jn.01335.2004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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