Prefrontal Cortex Asymmetry for Memory Encoding of Words and Abstract Shapes

A. Floel
2004 Cerebral Cortex  
Previous work suggested a differential contribution of prefrontal cortex (PFC) to successful encoding depending on the stimulus material. Here, we tested the hypothesis that encoding of words preferentially involves the left PFC, while encoding of nonverbal items (abstract shapes) relies on the right PFC. We used an experimental design that evaluated encoding of both words and abstract shapes in the same healthy volunteers. A transient virtual lesion of the left or the right PFC was elicited
more » ... h transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) while subjects memorized verbal and nonverbal items. We found that encoding of verbal material was disrupted by left PFC stimulation, whereas encoding of nonverbal material was disrupted by right PFC stimulation. These results demonstrate a functionally relevant lateralization of prefrontal contribution for verbal and nonverbal memory encoding. Previous work suggested a differential contribution of prefrontal cortex (PFC) to successful encoding depending on the stimulus material. Here, we tested the hypothesis that encoding of words preferentially involves the left PFC, while encoding of nonverbal items (abstract shapes) relies on the right PFC. We used an experimental design that evaluated encoding of both words and abstract shapes in the same healthy volunteers. A transient virtual lesion of the left or the right PFC was elicited with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) while subjects memorized verbal and nonverbal items. We found that encoding of verbal material was disrupted by left PFC stimulation, whereas encoding of nonverbal material was disrupted by right PFC stimulation. These results demonstrate a functionally relevant lateralization of prefrontal contribution for verbal and nonverbal memory encoding.
doi:10.1093/cercor/bhh002 pmid:15028644 fatcat:jx3px47en5h5lpxi3xqxiizrza