Exploring Declarative Memory using Animal Models

Howard Eichenbaum

in The Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory

Second edition

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199778614
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932962 | DOI:
Exploring Declarative Memory using Animal Models

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This chapter reviews evidence from animal models of amnesia. The efforts to model amnesia associated with damage to the medial temporal lobe followed two parallel approaches, one using monkeys as the experimental subjects and the other using primarily rats. The studies on monkeys began appropriately by reproducing the same pervasive medial temporal damage that occurred in H. M. The early studies on rats focused on the hippocampus, leaving out of the experimental ablation other structures that were damaged in H. M. and in experiments on monkeys. The combined results of experiments testing provide compelling evidence for a comprehensive account of the cognitive mechanisms of declarative memory. Various kinds of learning, spatial and nonspatial, simple and complex, can be accomplished independent of the hippocampus in animals, as indeed is the case in human amnesic patients as well. However, the hippocampus is required to link together the representations of overlapping experiences into a relational representation and supports the flexible and inferential expression of indirect associations among items within that larger organization of linked memories.

Keywords: animal models; amnesia; medial temporal lobe; monkeys; rats; hippocampus; declarative memory

Chapter.  14814 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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