Perceptual-mnemonic functions of the perirhinal cortex

Trends Cogn Sci. 1999 Apr;3(4):142-151. doi: 10.1016/s1364-6613(99)01303-0.


It is widely acknowledged that the perirhinal cortex, located in the ventromedial aspect of the temporal lobe, is essential for certain types of memory in macaque monkeys. For example, removal of the perirhinal cortex yields severe impairments on tests of stimulus recognition and stimulus-stimulus association. There is considerable disagreement, however, about the most accurate way to characterize the function of the perirhinal cortex; some views emphasize a role in perception whereas others posit a role exclusively in declarative memory. In this article, we review recent findings from anatomical, physiological and ablation studies in monkeys, and discuss related findings obtained in humans, in an attempt to identify not only the cognitive functions of the perirhinal cortex, but also the implications of these findings for theoretical views concerning the organization of memory.