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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 May 12;364(1521):1183-91. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0306.

The neurobiology of memory based predictions.

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Center for Memory and Brain, Boston University2 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Recent findings indicate that, in humans, the hippocampal memory system is involved in the capacity to imagine the future as well as remember the past. Other studies have suggested that animals may also have the capacity to recall the past and plan for the future. Here, we will consider data that bridge between these sets of findings by assessing the role of the hippocampus in memory and prediction in rats. We will argue that animals have the capacity for recollection and that the hippocampus plays a central and selective role in binding information in the service of recollective memory. Then we will consider examples of transitive inference, a paradigm that requires the integration of overlapping memories and flexible use of the resulting relational memory networks for generating predictions in novel situations. Our data show that animals have the capacity for transitive inference and that the hippocampus plays a central role in the ability to predict outcomes of events that have not yet occurred.

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