The global record of memory in hippocampal neuronal activity


Wood ER, Dudchenko P & Eichenbaum H (1999) The global record of memory in hippocampal neuronal activity. Nature, 397 (6720), pp. 613-616.

In humans the hippocampal region of the brain is crucial for declarative1 or episodic2 memory for a broad range of materials. In contrast, there has been controversy over whether the hippocampus mediates a similarly general memory function in other species, or whether it is dedicated to spatial memory processing3, 4, 5, 6. Evidence for the spatial view is derived principally from the observations of 'place cells'-hippocampal neurons that fire whenever the animal is in a particular location in its environment7, 8, or when it perceives a specific stimulus or performs a specific behaviour in a particular place3, 4. We trained rats to perform the same recognition memory task in several distinct locations in a rich spatial environment and found that the activity of many hippocampal neurons was related consistently to perceptual, behavioural or cognitive events, regardless of the location where these events occurred. These results indicate that non-spatial events are fundamental elements of hippocampal representation, and support the view that, across species, the hippocampus has a broad role in information processing associated with memory.

Nature: Volume 397, Issue 6720

Publication date18/02/1999
PublisherNature Publishing Group