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Title: Temporal lobe contributions to topographical and episodic memory
Author: Spiers, Hugo James
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2002
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The relative contributions of the left and right temporal lobes and of the hippocampus to topographical and episodic memory in simulated real-life situations was investigated using a virtual reality town. Subjects explored the town and were tested on their ability to navigate, recognise previously visited locations and draw maps. They then returned to the town, repeatedly meeting 2 different characters in 2 different locations along a route, and were tested on their memory for the people, places, temporal order and objects associated with each event. A group of unilateral temporal lobectomy patients and an early onset hypoxic-ischaemic patient with selective bilateral hippocampal damage were tested, as were appropriate matched control subjects. The results showed an interaction between laterality and test type such that the right temporal lobectomy (RTL) patients were impaired on all tests of topographical memory and the left temporal lobectomy (LTL) patients were impaired on all tests of context-dependent episodic memory. The RTL group were also impaired on recognition of the objects and the LTL group were also impaired at drawing maps, but less so than the RTL group. The hippocampal patient was impaired on all topographical tasks and on the retrieval of the contextual aspects of the events. However, his forced-choice recognition memory for visual stimuli identical at presentation and test was spared. These results suggest that topographical memory is predominately mediated by the right temporal lobe, whereas context-dependent aspects of episodic memory are more dependent on the left temporal lobe. Furthermore they suggest that the hippocampus is a critical structure within the temporal lobes for topographical and context-dependent episodic memory, but not for familiarity-based recognition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Physiology