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Functional specialization in the human medial temporal lobe

Barense, Morgan D., Bussey, Timothy J., Lee, Andy C. H., Rogers, Timothy T., Davies, R. Rhys, Saksida, Lisa M., Murray, Elisabeth A. and Graham, Kim Samantha ORCID: 2005. Functional specialization in the human medial temporal lobe. Journal of Neuroscience 25 (44) , pp. 10239-10246. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2704-05.2005

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Investigations of memory in rats and nonhuman primates have demonstrated functional specialization within the medial temporal lobe (MTL), a set of heavily interconnected structures including the hippocampal formation and underlying entorhinal, perirhinal, and parahippocampal cortices. Most studies in humans, however, especially in patients with brain damage, suggest that the human MTL is a unitary memory system supporting all types of declarative memory, our conscious memory for facts and events. To resolve this discrepancy, amnesic patients with either selective hippocampal damage or more extensive MTL damage were tested on variations of an object discrimination task adapted from the nonhuman primate literature. Although both groups were equally impaired on standard recall-based memory tasks, they exhibited different profiles of performance on the object discrimination test, arguing against a unitary view of MTL function. Cases with selective hippocampal damage performed normally, whereas individuals with broader MTL lesions were impaired. Furthermore, deficits in this latter group were related not to the number of discriminations to be learned and remembered, but to the degree of “feature ambiguity,” a property of visual discriminations that can emerge when features are part of both rewarded and unrewarded stimuli. These findings resolve contradictions between published studies in humans and animals and introduce a new way of characterizing the impairments that arise after damage to the MTL.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Systems Immunity Research Institute (SIURI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: amnesia; hippocampus; medial temporal lobe; perirhinal cortex; object discrimination; declarative memory; perception; feature conjunctions
Additional Information: : “Copyright of all material published in The Journal of Neuroscience remains with the authors. The authors grant the Society for Neuroscience an exclusive license to publish their work for the first 6 months. After 6 months the work becomes available to the public to copy, distribute, or display under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.(” See:
Publisher: Society for Neuroscience
ISSN: 0270-6474
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 03:44

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