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Hippocampus and auditory input

Russ Poldrack rpoldrac at s.psych.uiuc.edu
Thu Sep 15 11:39:26 EST 1994

DvorakH at starbase1.caltech.edu (Hannah Dvorak) writes:
>In article <355m4l$2uv at usenet.INS.CWRU.Edu>, fb557 at cleveland.Freenet.Edu
>(Tom R. Gregg) wrote:
>> What is the function of the hippocampus?  I'd appreciate comments
>> and references.

>If you knew what the function of the hippocampus was, you'd be getting a
>Nobel Prize, or at least a publication in Science. :)  Try going to your
>library and looking up books on the hippocampus - there's several good ones
>out there.  One interesting example is "Neuronal Networks of the
>Hippocampus" 1991 by R.D. Traub and R. Miles; they combine actual
>biological data with modeling and simulation.  The hippocampus chapter in
>Gordon Shepherd's "Synaptic Organization of the Brain" (1990) is a good
>place to start too.

There is a recent book by Neal Cohen and Howard Eichenbaum entitled
_Memory, Amnesia, and the Hippocampal System_ (MIT Press, 1993) that
lays out a theory of what the hippocampus does, at both neural and
cognitive levels.  At the neural level, what the hippocampal system
does is bind together the outputs from various cortical processing
areas with connections to hippocampal system (where "hippocampal
system" includes hippocampus proper plus surrounding cortices).  This
allows for reactivation of these areas given only part of the original
pattern of activation.  By also keeping these patterns of
co-activation active, the hippocampus supports consolidation of
memories that exist in cortical regions.  At the cognitive level, the
HC system supports formation and storage of new representations that
are flexibly available and that bind together multiple objects and

There is an exchange coming out in the next issue of _Behavioral and
Brain Sciences_ in which Cohen and Eichenbaum lay out their view on
the relationship between the hippocampus proper and the related
cortices - the commentaries that accompany this article are pretty
lively and would give you a good idea of the current set of issues
that are being debated about the hippocampus.

Russ Poldrack
rpoldrac at s.psych.uiuc.edu

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