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Memory function and the hippocampus

Opitz, B (2014) Memory function and the hippocampus The Hippocampus in Clinical Neuroscience, 34. pp. 51-59.

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There has been a long tradition in memory research of adopting the view of a vital role of the medial temporal lobe and especially the hippocampus in declarative memory. Despite the broad support for this notion, there is an ongoing debate about what computations are performed by the different substructures. The present chapter summarizes several accounts of hippocampal functions in terms of the cognitive processes subserved by these structures, the information processed, and the underlying neural operations. Firstly, the value of the distinction between recollection and familiarity for the understanding of the role the hippocampus plays in memory is discussed. Then multiple lines of evidence for the role of the hippocampus in memory are considered. Cumulating evidence suggests that the hippocampus fosters the binding of disparate cortical representations of items and their spatiotemporal context into a coherent representation by means of a sparse conjunctive neural coding. This association of item and context will then lead to the phenomenological experience of recollection. In contrast, surrounding cortical areas have broader neural coding that provide a scalar signal of the similarity between two inputs (e.g. between the encoding and the retrieval). By this they form the basis of a feeling of familiarity, but also might encode the commonalities between these different inputs. However, a more complete picture of the importance of the hippocampus for declarative memories can only be drawn when the interactions of the medial temporal lobe with other brain areas are also taken into account.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Date : 16 April 2014
Identification Number : 10.1159/000356422
Contributors :
Additional Information : Copyright 2014 Karger. This publication appears here by kind permission of the publisher.
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 22 Apr 2015 16:29
Last Modified : 23 Apr 2015 01:33

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