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Neuropsychologia. 2011 Nov;49(13):3612-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.09.013. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

Areas of left perisylvian cortex mediate auditory-verbal short-term memory.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53719, USA.


A contentious issue in memory research is whether verbal short-term memory (STM) depends on a neural system specifically dedicated to the temporary maintenance of information, or instead relies on the same brain areas subserving the comprehension and production of language. In this study, we examined a large sample of adults with acquired brain lesions to identify the critical neural substrates underlying verbal STM and the relationship between verbal STM and language processing abilities. We found that patients with damage to selective regions of left perisylvian cortex - specifically the inferior frontal and posterior temporal sectors - were impaired on auditory-verbal STM performance (digit span), as well as on tests requiring the production and/or comprehension of language. These results support the conclusion that verbal STM and language processing are mediated by the same areas of left perisylvian cortex.

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