Potential Anatomical Basis for Attentional Modulation of Hippocampal Neurons

Authors

  • David C. Rowland,

    1. Department of Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA
    2. Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA
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  • Clifford G. Kentros

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA
    2. Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA
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Address for correspondence: Clifford G. Kentros, Institute of Neuroscience, 1254 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, 97403.
 cliff@uoneuro.uoregon.edu

Abstract

Lesions of the hippocampus and related structures produce profound anterograde amnesia. The amnesia is specific to what has been called “explicit,”“declarative,” and “episodic” memory. These memories are frequently believed to be central to the human condition, requiring such advanced cognitive functions as attention and even consciousness. However, the hippocampus and associated structures are evolutionarily conserved, which argues that the memories of lower mammals should be qualitatively similar in nature. Just as attention and arousal are critical components of appropriate memory formation in humans, an emerging body of evidence suggests that these processes bear on the firing patterns of hippocampal neurons in rodents. Here the evidence favoring this hypothesis is discussed and then the potential anatomical basis for such modulation is considered.

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