Spatial memory deficits in patients with unilateral damage to the right hippocampal formation

S Abrahams, A Pickering, C E Polkey, R G Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Patients with unilateral temporal lobe damage resulting from intractable temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE, n = 30) or from temporal lobe resection (temporal lobectomy, TLR, n = 47) were investigated on the Nine-box Maze. The task, analogous to the radial arm maze, was designed to compare spatial mapping and working memory theories of the functions of the hippocampus. The task provides measures of spatial, object, working and reference memory, incorporated into a within subjects design. The spatial component was designed to encourage the formation of allocentric rather than egocentric spatial representations. Spatial memory deficits were found (across working and reference memory components) in both TLE and TLR patients with right temporal lobe damage, with intact spatial memory in patients with corresponding left temporal lobe damage. Performance on the matched nonspatial (object) working memory component was equal to healthy controls for all groups. However all patient groups showed a deficit on object reference memory. These findings are discussed in relation to the underlying temporal lobe pathology and particularly atrophy of the hippocampal formation. Overall, the results support the cognitive mapping theory of hippocampal function, with the demonstration of a selective (and probably allocentric) spatial memory deficit in patients with right hippocampal damage. Copyright (C) 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-24
Number of pages14
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume35
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1997

Keywords

  • hippocampus
  • temporal lobe epilepsy
  • temporal lobe resection
  • allocentric space
  • TEMPORAL-LOBE EPILEPSY
  • FREELY MOVING RAT
  • WORKING MEMORY
  • VERBAL MEMORY
  • FRONTAL-LOBE
  • PLACE UNITS
  • LESIONS
  • IMPAIRMENT
  • LOBECTOMY
  • LOCATION

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