Three monkeys with complete ablations of temporal-lobe limbic structures and three unoperated controls were compared in an automated testing apparatus for their ability to remember pictures presented between 1 and 180 seconds previously, as well as to learn picture discriminations in which successive trials with a given pair were separated by either 20 seconds or 24 hours. The operated animals were not impaired in picture discrimination learning under either condition and they were not impaired in picture recognition memory up to about 10 seconds. At 10 seconds and beyond, however, the operated animals showed rapid deterioration of picture memory. The results demonstrate that the limbic system's selective contribution to learning and retention uncovered initially with objects applies equally to pictures, this contribution being essential for recognition memory but not for discrimination habits. The results demonstrate further that, as in humans, temporal-lobe limbic structures are essential for recognition only when the retention test exceeds the immediate memory span of a few seconds.