Can the hippocampus tell time? The temporo-septal engram shift model

Neuroreport. 1999 Aug 2;10(11):2301-6. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199908020-00015.


An essential feature of episodic memory, the type of memory dependent on hippocampus, is that individual memories belong to particular moments in time. Recent PET studies suggest that memory encoding and recall occur at different locations in human hippocampus. Coupled with other attributes of hippocampus, this suggested to us that the septo-temporal hippocampal axis may play an important role in time perception. We propose a temporo-septal engram shift model of hippocampal memory. The model posits that memories gradually move along the hippocampus from a temporal encoding site to ever more septal sites from which they are recalled. We propose that the sense of time is encoded by the location of the engram along the temporo-septal axis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Septum Pellucidum / physiology*
  • Time Perception / physiology*