The involvement of dorsal frontal and medial temporal regions during the encoding of words, namable line-drawn objects, and unfamiliar faces was examined using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Robust dorsal frontal activations were observed in each instance, but lateralization was strongly dependent on the materials being encoded. Encoding of words produced left-lateralized dorsal frontal activation, whereas encoding of unfamiliar faces produced homologous right-lateralized activation. Encoding of namable objects, which are amenable to both verbal and nonverbal encoding, yielded bilateral dorsal frontal activation. A similar pattern of results was observed in the medial temporal lobe. These results indicate that regions in both hemispheres underlie human long-term memory encoding, and these regions can be engaged differentially according to the nature of the material being encoded.
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