Mnemonic functions of the basal ganglia

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1997 Apr;7(2):164-9. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(97)80004-9.


A synthesis of older and recent work on mnemonic functions of the basal ganglia in rats, monkeys and humans emphasizes a reciprocal relationship of the caudate nucleus and putamen with the cerebral cortex, which mediates the memory of consistent relationships between stimuli and responses (sometimes called habits) that often involve relationships between the individual and its environment (egocentric memory). Evidence at several levels of analysis (including neuroplastic synaptic changes, activity of single neurons, and behavioral changes caused by lesions or neurochemical manipulations) implicate dopamine release from nigro-striatal neurons in the reinforcement, or strengthening, of neural representations in the basal ganglia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / physiology*
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Rats