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Behav Brain Res. 2001 Mar 15;119(2):111-30.

Reconsideration of the role of the hippocampus in learned inhibition.

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Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


The purpose of this article is to reconsider the role of the hippocampus in learning tasks that require suppression or prevention of memories or responses. This type of learning has generally been referred to as inhibitory learning. Although early theories proposed that the hippocampus was important for inhibitory learning, these ideas have generally fallen out of favor. However, new developments in the conceptual understanding of inhibition along with recent experimental evidence require that we review these conceptual changes with regard to hippocampal function. We review three general categories of 'inhibition' that have been used with reference to hippocampal function: neural inhibition, inhibition of attention and associative or learned inhibition. We then consider recent developments in the field of animal learning that call for changes in the early conceptualizations of learned inhibition. Specifically, current findings suggest that different types of learning paradigms can yield conditioned inhibitors that are embedded in different associative structures, at least some of which can co-exist with conditioned excitation. Next we proceed to review a number of recent experiments from our laboratory as well as others that encouraged renewed interest in the role for the hippocampus in inhibitory learning. We then conclude by considering some of the implications of the idea that the hippocampus is involved with performance of conditioned responses based on cues that are concurrently embedded in inhibitory and excitatory associations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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