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Memory for objects, contexts and events in the rat

Madeline Eacott

University of Durham , Durham , UK

Recent work in the lab has examined complex memory for objects in the rat. By using variations on the classic spontaneous recognition task, we have investigated memory for object configurations with other objects, with spatial locations and with contexts. The effects of lesions to the perirhinal or postrhinal cortex or to the fornix were examined. A series of dissociations reveal that perirhinal and postrhinal cortex each make distinctive contributions to memory in the rat and that these can be dissociated from that of the hippocampus. Perirhinal cortex is revealed as important for learning about features which define objects, while postrhinal cortex is important for learning about within-scene position and context. In contrast, the hippocampus may be critical for memory for the object and its position within a scene or context, a type of memory which I argue is similar to human episodic memory.