Bimanual coordination positively predicts episodic memory: A combined behavioral and MRI investigation

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Abstract

Some people remember events more completely and accurately than other people, but the origins of individual differences in episodic memory are poorly understood. One way to advance understanding is by identifying characteristics of individuals that reliably covary with memory performance. Recent research suggests motor behavior is related to memory performance, with individuals who consistently use a single preferred hand for unimanual actions performing worse than individuals who make greater use of both hands. This research has relied on self-reports of behavior. It is unknown whether objective measures of motor behavior also predict memory performance. Here, we tested the predictive power of bimanual coordination, an important form of manual dexterity. Bimanual coordination, as measured objectively on the Purdue Pegboard Test, was positively related to correct recall on the California Verbal Learning Test-II and negatively related to false recall. Furthermore, MRI data revealed that cortical surface area in right lateral prefrontal regions was positively related to correct recall. In one of these regions, cortical thickness was negatively related to bimanual coordination. These results suggest that individual differences in episodic memory may partially reflect morphological variation in right lateral prefrontal cortex and suggest a relationship between neural correlates of episodic memory and motor behavior.

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