Selective deficit of spatial short-term memory: Role of storage and rehearsal mechanisms

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We report the neuropsychological and MRI investigation of a patient (GP) who developed a selective impairment of spatial short-term memory (STM) following damage to the dorso-mesial areas of the right frontal lobe. We assessed in this patient spatial STM with an experimental procedure that evaluated immediate and 5-20s delayed recall of verbal, visual and spatial stimuli. The patient scored significantly worse than normal controls on tests that required delayed recall of spatial data. This could not be ascribed to a deficit of spatial episodic long-term memory because amnesic patients performed normally on these tests. Conversely, the patient scored in the normal range on tests of immediate recall of verbal, visual and spatial data and tests of delayed recall of verbal and visual data. Comparison with a previously described patient who had a selective deficit in immediate spatial recall and an ischemic lesion that affected frontal and parietal dorso-mesial areas in the right hemisphere (Carlesimo GA, Perri R, Turriziani P, Tomaiuolo F, Caltagirone C. Remembering what but not where: independence of spatial and visual working memory in the human brain. Cortex. 2001 Sep; 37(4):519-34) suggests that the right parietal areas are involved in the short-term storage of spatial information and that the dorso-mesial regions of the right frontal underlie mechanisms for the delayed maintenance of the same data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-32
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Rehearsal
  • Spatial short-term memory
  • Storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Medicine(all)


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