Limbic Beta Activation and LORETA: Can Hippocampal and Related Limbic Activity Be Recorded and Changes Visualized Using LORETA in an Affective Memory Condition?

  • Rex Cannon
  • Joel Lubar
  • Keri Thornton
  • Stuart Wilson
  • Marco Congedo


Background. The purpose of this study was to determine the validity of Low Resolution Electromagnetic Tomography (LORETA) in visualizing limbic structures and possibly identifying  electroencephalographic (EEG) frequencies in the limbic region during an anger memory recall process. Method. This study was conducted with twelve subjects, non-clinical students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. A pre-study screening was conducted. Eyes-open baselines were obtained employing 300 epochs, or five minutes, using a 19-channel quantitative electroencephalographic (qEEG) acquisition system with linked ear reference. The experimental condition recording directly followed an eyes-open baseline. The experimental condition was to allocate a memory that created intense anger and retain the state as long as possible. All files were no less than 100 total epochs upon editing. The data were analyzed in both individual and group conditions with LORETA imaging software. Statistical differences between conditions were evaluated for significance, then computed and transformed into LORETA images. Results. The data revealed significant differences between the anger condition and baseline recordings in limbic structures and frontal regions. The data suggests that limbic lobe and hippocampal activity can be recorded and visualized using LORETA during affective memory recall. There are several notable differences between the baseline and condition images. One of the more interesting of these differences is possible activation of the amygdala, uncinate gyrus and surrounding structures in the beta (12-32 Hz) frequencies. The hemispheric asymmetries during anger memory recall offer further support for the lateralization of hemispheric activity relating to affective states. Conclusion. LORETA may be an effective method used to differentiate and visualize limbic lobe, hippocampal formation and other related structures during affective anger memory recall.