A study of verbal and spatial information processing using event-related potentials and positron emission tomography


Department of Neuropsychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812–82, Japan


Abstract  The activated cerebral regions and the timing of information processing in the hemispheres was investigated using event-related potentials (ERP) and regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) as the neurophysiological indicators. Seven men and one woman (age 19–27 years) were asked to categorize two-syllable Japanese nouns (verbal condition) and to judge the difference between pairs of rectangles (spatial condition), both tests presented on a monochrome display. In the electroencephalogram (EEG) session, EEG were recorded from 16 electrode sites, with linked earlobe electrodes as reference. In the positron emission tomography (PET) session, rCBF were measured by the 15O-labeled H2O bolus injection method. Regions of interest were the frontal, temporal, parietal, occipital and central lobes, and the entire cerebral hemispheres. When the subtracted voltages of the ERP in homologous scalp sites were compared for the verbal and spatial conditions, the significant differences were at F7-F8 and T5-T6 (the 10–20 system). The latencies of the differences at T5–T6 were around 200, 250 and 320 ms. A significant difference in rCBF between the verbal and spatial conditions was found only in the temporal region. It was concluded that early processing of information, that is, registration and simple recognition, may be performed mainly in the left temporal lobe for verbal information and in the right for spatial information.