Sex differences in lateralization of semantic verbal fluency in temporal lobe epilepsy

Katie E. Eichstaedt, Jason R. Soble, Joel E. Kamper, Ali M. Bozorg, Selim R. Benbadis, Fernando Vale Diaz, Mike R. Schoenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When differences exist, women tend to outperform men on measures of verbal fluency, possibly due to greater bilateral language representation. Patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) have a higher rate of atypical cortical language representation than the general population, making them a population of interest for the study of language. For the current study, 78 TLE patients (51% male, 51% left temporal focus) underwent pre-surgical neuropsychological evaluations. Retrospective data analyses investigated the impact of seizure laterality and sex on letter and semantic verbal fluency. Results indicated an interaction between sex and laterality for semantic, but not letter, verbal fluency. Males with left TLE exhibited significantly worse semantic fluency than males with right TLE, whereas females' semantic fluency did not differ by seizure focus. These data indicate that females with TLE may indeed engage in more bilateral hemispheric processing of semantic verbal fluency, whereas males may be more reliant on left temporal cortical function for this task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-15
Number of pages5
JournalBrain and Language
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Epilepsy
  • Language
  • Lateralization
  • Sex
  • Verbal fluency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing

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