Efficiency of the forebrain commissures: memory for stimuli seen by the other hemisphere
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How well will one cerebral hemisphere recognize items viewed initially via the other? Nonverbalizable images or words were presented to one visual field and memory for them tested in the same or the other visual field. The initially viewing hemisphere subsequently had no secure advantage in accuracy, and only for images was there a 30-ms (ca 3%) penalty in reaction time for viewing with the ?other? hemisphere. Interhemispheric mnemonic communication is thus highly reliable. At longer retention intervals (1-2 min vs. 4-30 s, with accumulating added stimuli), however, recognition of words was asymmetric as to hemisphere, in that initial viewing via the right hemisphere was subsequently (and paradoxically) much better recognized via the left (other) hemisphere than was the converse situation. This suggests that the initial engram with right hemispheric viewing of words ultimately becomes established in the left, and that the right has less accurate access to a previous ?left hemispheric view?.
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R.W. Doty, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York 14642, USA