In recent years there has been significant debate about whether there is a single medial temporal lobe memory system or dissociable systems for episodic and other types of declarative memory. In addition there has been a similar debate over the dissociability of recollection and familiarity based processes in recognition memory. Here we present evidence from recent work using episodic memory tasks in animals that allows us to explore these issues in more depth. We review studies that demonstrate triple dissociations within the medial temporal lobe, with only the hippocampal system being necessary for episodic memory. Similarly we review behavioural evidence for a dissociation in a task of episodic memory in rats where animals with lesions of the fornix are only impaired at recollection of the episodic memory, not recognition within the same trial. This work, then, supports recent models of dissociable neural systems within the medial temporal lobe but also raises questions for future investigation about the interactions of these medial temporal lobe memory systems with other structures.
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