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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Aug 6;110(32):13144-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1302351110. Epub 2013 Jul 22.

Oscillatory activity in the monkey hippocampus during visual exploration and memory formation.

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  • 1Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA.


Primates explore the visual world through the use of saccadic eye movements. Neuronal activity in the hippocampus, a structure known to be essential for memory, is modulated by this saccadic activity, but the relationship between visual exploration through saccades and memory formation is not well understood. Here, we identify a link between theta-band (3-12 Hz) oscillatory activity in the hippocampus and saccadic activity in monkeys performing a recognition memory task. As monkeys freely explored novel images, saccades produced a theta-band phase reset, and the reliability of this phase reset was predictive of subsequent recognition. In addition, enhanced theta-band power before stimulus onset predicted stronger stimulus encoding. Together, these data suggest that hippocampal theta-band oscillations act in concert with active exploration in the primate and possibly serve to establish the optimal conditions for stimulus encoding.

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