memory is a catchall phrase used to refer to memory
for spatial information, such as the geographical layout of
your hometown or the interior of a friend's house. It can
be assessed by using a neuropsychological
test which requires remembering the position of items
or learning how to navigate through a maze.
Because many people process spatial information
using the right side of their brain, damage to the right side
of the brain can often cause impairments in spatial memory
and in the ability to learn and process spatial information.
Usually, damage limited to the left side of the brain causes
little disruption in spatial memory (but may disrupt verbal
memory). This left-right distinction is not true of everyone,
Additionally, some people naturally tend
to process information verbally, while others naturally tend
to process information spatially or visually (e.g. through
pictures). An individual who tends to process information
verbally may score relatively poorly on a test of spatial
memory -- even though there is nothing "wrong" with that person's
memory. When testing a person's memory, it is better to consider
both verbal and visual memory to get a complete understanding
of that person's memory abilities.
by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain