The roles of perirhinal cortex, postrhinal cortex, and the fornix in memory for objects, contexts, and events in the rat

Q J Exp Psychol B. 2005 Jul-Oct;58(3-4):202-17. doi: 10.1080/02724990444000203.


Investigation of the anatomical substructure of the medial temporal lobe has revealed a number of highly interconnected areas, which has led some to propose that the region operates as a unitary memory system. However, here we outline the results of a number of studies from our laboratories, which investigate the contributions of the rat's perirhinal cortex and postrhinal cortex to memory, concentrating particularly on their respective roles in memory for objects. By contrasting patterns of impairment and spared abilities on a number of related tasks, we suggest that perirhinal cortex and postrhinal cortex make distinctive contributions to learning and memory: for example, that postrhinal cortex is important in learning about within-scene position and context. We also provide evidence that despite the strong connectivity between these cortical regions and the hippocampus, the hippocampus, as evidenced by lesions of the fornix, has a distinct function of its own--combining information about objects, positions, and contexts.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology*
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology*
  • Fornix, Brain / physiology*
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Rats
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*