Finding and not finding rat perirhinal neuronal responses to novelty: Rat perirhinal neuronal responses to novelty

Eva v. L Roloff, Robert L Muller, Malcolm W Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
213 Downloads (Pure)


There is much evidence that the perirhinal cortex of both rats and monkeys is important for judging the relative familiarity of visual stimuli. In monkeys many studies have found that a proportion of perirhinal neurons respond more to novel than familiar stimuli. There are fewer studies of perirhinal neuronal responses in rats, and those studies based on exploration of objects, have raised into question the encoding of stimulus familiarity by rat perirhinal neurons. For this reason, recordings of single neuronal activity were made from the perirhinal cortex of rats so as to compare responsiveness to novel and familiar stimuli in two different behavioral situations. The first situation was based upon that used in “paired viewing” experiments that have established rat perirhinal differences in immediate early gene expression for novel and familiar visual stimuli displayed on computer monitors. The second situation was similar to that used in the spontaneous object recognition test that has been widely used to establish the involvement of rat perirhinal cortex in familiarity discrimination. In the first condition 30 (25%) of 120 perirhinal neurons were visually responsive; of these responsive neurons 19 (63%) responded significantly differently to novel and familiar stimuli. In the second condition eight (53%) of 15 perirhinal neurons changed activity significantly in the vicinity of objects (had “object fields”); however, for none (0%) of these was there a significant activity change related to the familiarity of an object, an incidence significantly lower than for the first condition. Possible reasons for the difference are discussed. It is argued that the failure to find recognition-related neuronal responses while exploring objects is related to its detectability by the measures used, rather than the absence of all such signals in perirhinal cortex. Indeed, as shown by the results, such signals are found when a different methodology is used.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1021–1032
Number of pages12
Issue number8
Early online date18 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • familiarity
  • visual responses
  • recognition memory
  • medial temporal lobe
  • electrophysiology

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