Spatial Binding Impairments in Visual Working Memory following Temporal Lobectomy

eNeuro. 2022 Mar 8;9(2):ENEURO.0278-21.2022. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0278-21.2022. Print 2022 Mar-Apr.


Disorders of the medial temporal lobe (MTL) adversely affect visual working memory (vWM) performance, including feature binding. It is unclear whether these impairments generalize across visual dimensions or are specifically spatial. To address this issue, we compared performance in two tasks of 13 epilepsy patients, who had undergone a temporal lobectomy, and 15 healthy controls. In the vWM task, participants recalled the color of one of two polygons, previously displayed side by side. At recall, a location or shape probe identified the target. In the perceptual task, participants estimated the centroid of three visible disks. Patients recalled the target color less accurately than healthy controls because they frequently swapped the nontarget with the target color. Moreover, healthy controls and right temporal lobectomy patients made more swap errors following shape than space probes. Left temporal lobectomy patients, showed the opposite pattern of errors instead. Patients and controls performed similarly in the perceptual task. We conclude that left MTL damage impairs spatial binding in vWM, and that this impairment does not reflect a perceptual or attentional deficit.

Keywords: spatial memory; temporal lobe epilepsy; visual binding; working memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cognition
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe* / complications
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Memory Disorders / etiology
  • Memory, Short-Term*
  • Mental Recall
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Temporal Lobe / surgery