J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc.  2013 Sep;52(5):353-359.

The Effect of Bilaterally Alternating Auditory Stimulations on the Episodic Memory Retrieval

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Konyang University College of Medicine, Konyang University Hospital, Daejeon, Korea. Cortex@konyang.ac.kr
  • 2Center for Brain and Cognition Measurement, Division of Convergence Technology, Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 3Department of Medical Physics, University of Science and Technology, Daejeon, Korea.


Previous research has shown that bilaterally alternating eye movements enhance episodic memory retrieval. This effect has been considered an important mechanism of the therapeutic effects of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) treatment. We conducted this study in order to test the hypothesis that bilaterally alternating auditory stimuli would also have similar effects on episodic memory retrieval.
Thirty eight right-handed subjects participated in this study. Subjects learned words, and then received bilaterally alternating auditory stimuli (as experimental stimuli) or unilateral auditory stimuli (as control stimuli). Subsequently, they performed recognition memory task. Recognition accuracy, response bias, and mean response to hits were used for evaluation of episodic memory retrieval. Repeated measures analysis of variance was performed for statistical analysis.
There was no significant effect of experimental conditions in recognition accuracy, the response bias, and mean response time to hits.
Unlike the previous positive results of bilaterally alternating eye movements, we did not observe an enhancing effect of bilaterally alternating auditory stimuli compared to unilateral auditory stimuli on episodic memory retrieval. This result suggests the possibility that the therapeutic mechanisms of EMDR might differ according to modalities of bilateral stimulation.


Bilateral stimuli; Auditory stimuli; Episodic memory; Eye movement desensitization reprocessing

MeSH Terms

Bias (Epidemiology)
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing
Eye Movements
Memory, Episodic*
Reaction Time
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