Binding deficits in visual short-term memory in patients with temporal lobe lobectomy

Hippocampus. 2019 Feb;29(2):63-67. doi: 10.1002/hipo.22998. Epub 2018 Nov 19.


Classical views of the medial temporal lobe (MTL) have established that it plays a crucial role in long-term memory (LTM). Here we demonstrate, in a sample of patients who have undergone anterior temporal lobectomy for the treatment of pharmacoresistant epilepsy, that the MTL additionally plays a specific, causal role in short-term memory (STM). Patients (n=22) and age-matched healthy control participants (n=26) performed a STM task with a sensitive continuous report measure. This paradigm allowed us to examine recall memory for object identity, location and object-location binding, independently on a trial-by-trial basis. Our findings point to a specific involvement of MTL in object-location binding, but, crucially, not retention of either object identity or location. Therefore the MTL appears to perform a specific computation: binding disparate features that belong to a memory. These results echo findings from previous studies, which have identified a role for the MTL in relational binding for LTM, and support the proposal that MTL regions perform such a function for both STM and LTM, independent of the retention duration. Furthermore, these findings and the methodology employed here may provide a simple, sensitive and clinically valuable means to test memory dysfunuction in MTL disorders.

Keywords: Binding; Medial Temporal Lobe; Short term memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anterior Temporal Lobectomy / adverse effects
  • Anterior Temporal Lobectomy / trends*
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / diagnostic imaging
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Temporal Lobe / diagnostic imaging*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*