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Effects of task and material on hemispheric lateralisation of nonverbal memory

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posted on 28.03.2022, 10:53 by Adam Bentvelzen
The role of the right temporal lobe in memory function is unresolved. The material specificity model has successfully guided the detection of left temporal lobe pathology using verbal memory tests, but the detection of right temporal lobe pathology using nonverbal memory tests has been unreliable. Considering factors beyond material type per se could improve prediction of right hemispheric pathology. This thesis investigated the factors associated with right-lateralisation of memory function including i) the type of nonverbal stimulus used (i.e., abstract designs, faces, spatial arrays), ii) differences in task-related processing (e.g., encoding versus retrieval), and iii) potential lower-level stimulus confounds (i.e., memory versus perceptual processing). In a comprehensive meta-analysis of studies employing nonverbal memory testing of temporal lobe epilepsy patients (k = 152), memory for faces or spatial stimuli had superior detection of right-sided pathology than memory for abstract designs. By comparison, task demands including learning type (single versus repeated stimulus presentation) and the delay before testing memory (short versus long) had negligible effect. Following the meta-analysis two empirical papers compared the effects of material (verbal, spatial) and processing (encoding, retrieval) on lateralisation using event-related potentials (ERPs) and changes in electroencephalographic power (EEG). ERP measures showed right-lateralisation for spatial learning while processing type affected lateralisation only in the anterior region of the brain (encoding: left; retrieval: right). In the next two empirical papers using the same measures, the ERP results revealed that spatial memory contributed to right-lateralised brain activity over and above spatial perceptual processing. In both experiments EEG measures were less sensitive to the effects than were ERPs. The main findings of this thesis were that right-lateralisation of nonverbal memory is most reliably affected by the type of material, but with important contributions of task-related processing (encoding, retrieval) in the anterior brain regions, and that spatial memory affects right-lateralisation over and above the lateralising influences of perceptual processing. The findings stand to enhance understanding of right hemispheric memory functions.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. General introduction -- Chapter 2. The prediction of right temporal lobe pathology by nonverbal memory tests : meta-analysis of stimulus and task effects -- Chapter 3. Material type and task demands interactively affect hemispheric lateralisation of early ERP measures during a memory task -- Chapter 4. The effects of material type and memory processing type on lateralisation of event-related theta and alpha power -- Chapter 5. Separable effects of perceptual form and memory on material-specific lateralisation during memory tasks : an ERP study -- Chapter 6. EEG power shows right hemisphere lateralisation during memory tasks regardless of material type remembered or perceptual processing -- Chapter 7. General discussion -- References -- Appendices.


At foot of title page: ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD), Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Thesis by publication. Includes bibliographical references

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MClinPsych/PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Greg Savage


Copyright Adam Bentvelzen 2016 Copyright disclaimer: http://mq.edu.au/library/copyright




1 online resource (v, 363 pages) graphs, tables

Former Identifiers

mq:68800 http://hdl.handle.net/1959.14/1247858