Human Memory, Cerebral Hemispheres, and the Limbic System: A New Approach

Vadim S. Rotenberg, Igor Weinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An integrative approach to human memory is presented in the context of brain asymmetry. The results of psychophysiological investigations suggest that right-hemisphere functioning is closely associated with the limbic system; that association leads to the formation of a polysemantic context. Polysemantic context is determined by multiple interconnections among its elements; each element bears the stamp of the whole context. That context sustains episodic, personal, and emotionally laden memories. Left-hemisphere functioning leads to the formation of a monosemantic context, which is responsible for the maintenance of semantic memories. That distinction - in terms of general organization of material by hemispheres - explains such phenomena as memory disturbances among the very old, the influence of emotions on memory, and confabulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-70
Number of pages26
JournalGenetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes


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