Visual perception and memory: a new view of medial temporal lobe function in primates and rodents

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2007:30:99-122. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.29.051605.113046.


The prevailing view of medial temporal lobe (MTL) function has two principal elements: first, that the MTL subserves memory but not perception, and second, that the many anatomically distinctive parts of the MTL function together in the service of declarative memory. Recent neuropsychological studies have, however, challenged both opinions. First, studies in rodents, nonhuman primates, and humans suggest that the perirhinal cortex represents information about objects for both mnemonic and perceptual purposes. Second, the idea that MTL components contribute to declarative memory in similar ways has also been contradicted. Whereas the perirhinal cortex plays an essential role in familiarity-based object recognition, the hippocampus contributes little, if at all, to this function. In both primates and rodents, the hippocampus contributes to the memory and perception of places and paths, whereas the perirhinal cortex does so for objects and the contents of scenes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Entorhinal Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Parahippocampal Gyrus / anatomy & histology
  • Parahippocampal Gyrus / physiology
  • Primates / anatomy & histology
  • Primates / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rodentia / anatomy & histology
  • Rodentia / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*