Projects per year
The proposal that a system centering on the perirhinal cortex is responsible for familiarity discrimination, particularly for single items, whereas a system centering on the hippocampus is responsible for recollective and more complex associational aspects of recognition memory is reviewed in the light of recent findings. In particular, the proposal is reviewed in relation to recent animal work with rats and results from human clinical studies. Notably, progress has been made in determining potential neural memory substrate mechanisms within the perirhinal cortex in rats. Recent findings have emphasized the importance of specifying the type of material, the type of test, and the strategy used by subjects to solve recognition memory tests if substrates are to be accurately inferred. It is to be expected that the default condition is that both the hippocampal and perirhinal systems will contribute to recognition memory performance. Indeed, rat lesion experiments provide examples of where cooperation between both systems is essential. Nevertheless, there remain examples of the independent operation of the hippocampal and perirhinal systems. Overall, it is concluded that most, though not all, of the recent findings are in support of the proposal. However, there is also evidence that the systems involved in recognition memory need to include structures outside the medial temporal lobe: there are significant but as yet only partially defined roles for the prefrontal cortex and sensory association cortices in recognition memory processes.