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Neuroimage. 2007 Jul 1;36(3):969-78. Epub 2007 Apr 4.

Memory and the medial temporal lobe: hemispheric specialization reconsidered.

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  • 1Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


The role of the medial temporal lobe in learning and memory has been well established in research on humans and other animals. In humans, clinical and neuroimaging studies typically suggest material-specific lateralization in which the left and right temporal lobes are associated with verbal and nonverbal memory, respectively. It is often assumed that the temporal lobes are functionally alike, differing only in terms of the content to be learned. Here we present data that challenge this notion, showing that the type of material used during a memory task can influence fMRI activation patterns beyond the expected left-verbal/right-nonverbal dichotomy. Our results also suggest some degree of functional asymmetry in the medial temporal lobe that is independent of material type, pointing to underlying processing differences between the left and right temporal lobes.

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