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Publication Detail
The time course of ventrolateral prefrontal cortex involvement in memory formation.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Machizawa MG, Kalla R, Walsh V, Otten LJ
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    1569, 1579
  • Journal:
    J Neurophysiol
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Country:
    United States
  • Print ISSN:
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Adult, Female, Functional Laterality, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Memory, Photic Stimulation, Prefrontal Cortex, Psychomotor Performance, Reaction Time, Recognition (Psychology), Time Factors, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Verbal Learning
Human neuroimaging studies have implicated a number of brain regions in long-term memory formation. Foremost among these is ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. Here, we used double-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to assess whether the contribution of this part of cortex is crucial for laying down new memories and, if so, to examine the time course of this process. Healthy adult volunteers performed an incidental encoding task (living/nonliving judgments) on sequences of words. In separate series, the task was performed either on its own or while TMS was applied to one of two sites of experimental interest (left/right anterior inferior frontal gyrus) or a control site (vertex). TMS pulses were delivered at 350, 750, or 1,150 ms following word onset. After a delay of 15 min, memory for the items was probed with a recognition memory test including confidence judgments. TMS to all three sites nonspecifically affected the speed and accuracy with which judgments were made during the encoding task. However, only TMS to prefrontal cortex affected later memory performance. Stimulation of left or right inferior frontal gyrus at all three time points reduced the likelihood that a word would later be recognized by a small, but significant, amount (approximately 4%). These findings indicate that bilateral ventrolateral prefrontal cortex plays an essential role in memory formation, exerting its influence between > or = 350 and 1,150 ms after an event is encountered.
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