Neuroimaging and lesion studies have demonstrated that hippocampal volume correlates with memory performance, but material-specific lateralization of this structure-function relationship has been inconsistent. This MRI study examined the relative contributions of left and right temporal lobe volumes to verbal and nonverbal recognition memory in a group of 20 Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. There was a significant relationship between extent of right hippocampal and right temporal gray matter tissue volume deficit and performance on the face recognition subtest of the Warrington Recognition Memory Test. The face recognition test correlated with right hemisphere volume but not to left, indicating a material-specific relationship between brain structure and function in this patient group. Right temporal horn volume did not account for a significant proportion of variance in face recognition memory. Although word recognition was not significantly correlated with either left or right hippocampal volume in the total group, there was a strong correlation between left hippocampal volume and word recognition memory in the female AD patients. Thus, face recognition shows a material specific relationship with select lateralized hippocampal and temporal cortical volumes in AD patients, regardless of gender, whereas the verbal recognition-left-hippocampal volume relationship may be mediated by gender.