No effect of hippocampal lesions on perirhinal cortex-dependent feature-ambiguous visual discriminations

Hippocampus. 2006;16(4):421-30. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20170.


Previous studies have shown that perirhinal cortex lesions in monkeys impair visual discriminations with a high degree of "feature ambiguity," a property of visual discriminations that can emerge when features are a part of both rewarded and unrewarded stimuli. The effects of damage to the hippocampus on these perirhinal-dependent feature-ambiguous tasks are, however, unknown. Prominent theories of medial temporal lobe function predict similar effects of perirhinal cortex and hippocampal lesions on cognitive tasks. In contrast, our hypothesis is that perirhinal cortex, and not the hippocampus, is important for nonspatial complex feature-ambiguous discriminations. We sought to distinguish between these competing theories in a straightforward way, by testing rhesus monkeys with hippocampal lesions on the same feature-ambiguous tasks shown previously to depend on perirhinal cortex. It was found that hippocampal lesions had no effects on any of these tasks. The findings support the perceptual-mnemonic/feature conjunction model of perirhinal cortex function, and provide further evidence for heterogeneity of function within the putative medial temporal lobe memory system.

MeSH terms

  • Agnosia / etiology
  • Agnosia / physiopathology*
  • Agnosia / psychology
  • Animals
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Denervation
  • Discrimination Learning
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hippocampus / injuries
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Memory Disorders / etiology
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Memory Disorders / psychology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Neurotoxins
  • Parahippocampal Gyrus / anatomy & histology
  • Parahippocampal Gyrus / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Perceptual Disorders / etiology
  • Perceptual Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Perceptual Disorders / psychology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Visual Pathways / injuries
  • Visual Pathways / pathology
  • Visual Pathways / physiopathology


  • Neurotoxins