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Rey Complex Figure: Figural and spatial memory before and after temporal lobectomy for intractable epilepsy

  • ANTHONY C. KNEEBONE (a1) (a2), GREGORY P. LEE (a3), LEE T. WADE (a3) and DAVID W. LORING (a4) (a5)

Reliable neuropsychological markers of right temporal integrity have proven elusive. Specifically it is unclear whether figural and spatial aspects of visual memory are differentially affected by right temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and subsequent resection. To investigate this we used the modified Rey Complex Figure (RCF) scoring system devised by Brier et al. (1996) to obtain separate indices of figural and spatial memory in TLE surgery candidates. We extended on their study by examining presurgical performance and change following right and left temporal lobectomy (RATL, n = 38, LATL, n = 42) in individuals from a cross-institutional sample with and without hippocampal sclerosis (HS+/HS−). Contrary to expectation neither figural nor spatial RCF recall were differentially sensitive to RTLE, right HS, or subsequent resection. Presurgically, laterality effects on both figural and spatial memory indices were not found although HS− individuals significantly outperformed HS+ individuals on both measures. Following surgery the largest decrements in both figural and spatial recall were observed among LATL HS− participants. We concluded that RCF recall is a poor marker of right temporal lobe function and suggest it may be a “surrogate” measure of left temporal lobe function possibly due to the verbalizability of many of its components. (JINS, 2007, 13, 664–671.)

Corresponding author
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Dr Anthony Kneebone, Department of Clinical Psychology, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park 5042, South Australia, Australia. E-mail:
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