Influence of anxiety on memory performance in temporal lobe epilepsy

Franklin C. Brown, Michael Westerveld, John T. Langfitt, Marla Hamberger, Hamada Hamid, Shlomo Shinnar, Michael R. Sperling, Orrin Devinsky, William Barr, Joseph Tracy, David Masur, Carl W. Bazil, Susan S. Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This study examined the degree to which anxiety contributed to inconsistent material-specific memory difficulties among 243 patients with temporal lobe epilepsy from the Multisite Epilepsy Study. Visual memory performance on the Rey Complex Figure Test (RCFT) was poorer for those with high versus low levels of anxiety but was not found to be related to the TLE side. The verbal memory score on the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) was significantly lower for patients with left-sided TLE than for patients with right-sided TLE with low anxiety levels but equally impaired for those with high anxiety levels. These results suggest that we can place more confidence in the ability of verbal memory tests like the CVLT to lateralize to left-sided TLE for those with low anxiety levels, but that verbal memory will be less likely to produce lateralizing information for those with high anxiety levels. This suggests that more caution is needed when interpreting verbal memory tests for those with high anxiety levels. These results indicated that RCFT performance was significantly affected by anxiety and did not lateralize to either side, regardless of anxiety levels. This study adds to the existing literature which suggests that drawing-based visual memory tests do not lateralize among patients with TLE, regardless of anxiety levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Anxiety
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy
  • Verbal memory
  • Visual memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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