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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Nov 20;115(47):11947-11952. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1814843115. Epub 2018 Nov 5.

Awareness of what is learned as a characteristic of hippocampus-dependent memory.

Smith CN1,2, Squire LR1,2,3,4.

Author information

1
Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA 92161; cnsmith@ucsd.edu lsquire@ucsd.edu.
2
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093.
3
Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093.
4
Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093.

Abstract

We explored the relationship between memory performance and conscious knowledge (or awareness) of what has been learned in memory-impaired patients with hippocampal lesions or larger medial temporal lesions. Participants viewed familiar scenes or familiar scenes where a change had been introduced. Patients identified many fewer of the changes than controls. Across all of the scenes, controls preferentially directed their gaze toward the regions that had been changed whenever they had what we term robust knowledge about the change: They could identify that a change occurred, report what had changed, and indicate where the change occurred. Preferential looking did not occur when they were unaware of the change or had only partial knowledge about it. The patients, overall, did not direct their gaze toward the regions that had been changed, but on the few occasions when they had robust knowledge about the change they (like controls) did exhibit this effect. Patients did not exhibit this effect when they were unaware of the change or had partial knowledge. The findings support the idea that awareness of what has been learned is a key feature of hippocampus-dependent memory.

KEYWORDS:

amnesia; declarative memory; eye movements; medial temporal lobe

PMID:
30397153
PMCID:
PMC6255196
[Available on 2019-05-20]
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1814843115
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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