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Curr Opin Behav Sci. 2017 Oct;17:155-160. doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2017.08.008. Epub 2017 Sep 5.

Spatial Responses, Immediate Experience, and Memory in the Monkey Hippocampus.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Washington, 1705 NE Pacific Street, HSB Room G424, Seattle, WA USA 98195-7290.


Debate about the function of the hippocampus often pits theories advocating for spatial mapping against those that argue for a central role in memory. This review addresses whether research in the monkey supports the view that processing spatial information is fundamental to the function of the hippocampus. In support of spatial processing theories, neurons in the monkey hippocampal formation have striking spatial tuning, and an intact hippocampus is necessary to effectively utilize allocentric spatial relationships. However, the hippocampus also supports non-spatial processes, as its neurons acutely respond to distinct task events and hippocampal damage disrupts both expedient task acquisition and the monitoring of ongoing events in non-spatial paradigms. The features that are shared between spatial and non-spatial hippocampal-dependent tasks point toward a common mechanism underlying hippocampal function that is independent of processing spatial information. We suggest that spatial information is only one facet of immediate experience represented by the hippocampus. The current data support the idea that the hippocampus tracks many aspects of ongoing experience and the primary role of the hippocampus may be in linking experienced events into unitary episodes.

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