Impaired recognition memory in patients with lesions limited to the hippocampal formation

Behav Neurosci. 1997 Aug;111(4):667-75. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.111.4.667.


A recent literature survey of results from a widely used recognition memory test raised questions about the extent to which recognition memory impairment ordinarily occurs in human amnesia and, in particular, whether recognition memory is impaired at all after damage limited to the hippocampal region (J. P. Aggleton & C. Shaw, 1996). Experiment 1 examined the performance of 6 amnesic patients on 11 to 25 different recognition memory tests. Three patients had bilateral lesions limited primarily to the hippocampus (G.D.) or the hippocampal formation (W.H. and L.M.), as determined by postmortem, neurohistological analysis (N. Rempel-Clower, S. M. Zola, L. R. Squire, & D. G. Amaral, 1996). All 6 patients exhibited unequivocally impaired recognition memory. In Experiment 2, the 3 patients still available for study were each markedly impaired on a test of object recognition similar to the kind used to test recognition memory in nonhuman primates. Recognition memory impairment is a robust feature of human amnesia, even when damage is limited primarily to the hippocampus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amnesia / pathology
  • Amnesia / physiopathology*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / pathology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Paired-Associate Learning / physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Retention, Psychology / physiology