Visual paired-associate learning

In search of material-specific effects in adult patients who have undergone temporal lobectomy

Mary Lou Smith*, Marla Bigel, Laurie A. Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


The mesial temporal lobes are important for learning arbitrary associations. It has previously been demonstrated that left mesial temporal structures are involved in learning word pairs, but it is not yet known whether comparable lesions in the right temporal lobe impair visually mediated associative learning. Patients who had undergone left (n= 16) or right (n= 18) temporal lobectomy for relief of intractable epilepsy and healthy controls (n= 13) were administered two paired-associate learning tasks assessing their learning and memory of pairs of abstract designs or pairs of symbols in unique locations. Both patient groups had deficits in learning the designs, but only the right temporal group was impaired in recognition. For the symbol location task, differences were not found in learning, but again a recognition deficit was found for the right temporal group. The findings implicate the mesial temporal structures in relational learning. They support a material-specific effect for recognition but not for learning and recall of arbitrary visual and visual-spatial associative information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-330
Number of pages5
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Memory
  • Mesial temporal lobe
  • Recognition
  • Relational learning

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