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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

May 2010, Vol. 22, No. 5, Pages 824-836
(doi: 10.1162/jocn.2009.21240)
© 2009 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Right-lateralized Brain Oscillations in Human Spatial Navigation
Article PDF (181.74 KB)

During spatial navigation, lesion and functional imaging studies suggest that the right hemisphere has a unique functional role. However, studies of direct human brain recordings have not reported interhemisphere differences in navigation-related oscillatory activity. We investigated this apparent discrepancy using intracranial electroencephalographic recordings from 24 neurosurgical patients playing a virtual taxi driver game. When patients were virtually moving in the game, brain oscillations at various frequencies increased in amplitude compared with periods of virtual stillness. Using log-linear analysis, we analyzed the region and frequency specificities of this pattern and found that neocortical movement-related gamma oscillations (34–54 Hz) were significantly lateralized to the right hemisphere, especially in posterior neocortex. We also observed a similar right lateralization of gamma oscillations related to searching for objects at unknown virtual locations. Thus, our results indicate that gamma oscillations in the right neocortex play a special role in human spatial navigation.