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Science 300 (5625): 1578-1581

Copyright © 2003 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Single Neurons in the Monkey Hippocampus and Learning of New Associations

Sylvia Wirth,1 Marianna Yanike,1 Loren M. Frank,2 Anne C. Smith,2 Emery N. Brown,2 Wendy A. Suzuki1*

Abstract: The medial temporal lobe is crucial for the ability to learn and retain new declarative memories. This form of memory includes the ability to quickly establish novel associations between unrelated items. To better understand the patterns of neural activity during associative memory formation, we recorded the activity of hippocampal neurons of macaque monkeys as they learned new associations. Hippocampal neurons signaled learning by changing their stimulus-selective response properties. This change in the pattern of selective neural activity occurred before, at the same time as, or after learning, which suggests that these neurons are involved in the initial formation of new associative memories.

1 Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA.
2 Harvard Medical School/MIT Division of Health, Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: wendy{at}

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