Send to

Choose Destination
Memory. 1997 Jan-Mar;5(1-2):179-212.

Extending models of hippocampal function in animal conditioning to human amnesia.

Author information

Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey 07102, USA.


Although most analyses of amnesia have focused on the loss of explicit declarative and episodic memories following hippocampal-region damage, considerable insights into amnesia can also be realised by studying hippocampal function in simple procedural, or habit-based, associative learning tasks. Although many simple forms of associative learning are unimpaired by hippocampal damage, more complex tasks which require sensitivity to unreinforced stimuli, configurations of multiple stimuli, or contextual information are impaired by hippocampal damage. In several recent papers we have developed a computational theory of hippocampal function which argues that this brain region plays a critical role in the formation of new stimulus representations during learning (Gluck & Myers, 1993, 1995; Myers & Gluck, 1996; Myers, Gluck, & Granger, 1995). We have applied this theory to a broad range of empirical data from studies of classical conditioning in both intact and hippocampal-lesioned animals, and the model correctly accounts for these data. The classical conditioning paradigm can be adapted for use in humans, and similar results for acquisition are obtained in both normal and hippocampal-damaged humans. More recently, we have begun to address an important set of category learning studies in both normals and hippocampal-damaged amnesics. This work integrates experimental studies of amnesic category learning (Knowlton, Squire, & Gluck, 1994) with theoretical accounts of associative learning, and builds on previously established behavioural correspondences between animal conditioning and human category learning (Gluck & Bower, 1988a). Our work to date illustrates some initial progress towards a more integrative understanding of hippocampal function in both animal and human learning, which may be useful in guiding further empirical and theoretical research in human memory and amnesia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center