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All in Order

The brain's hippocampus region is required for remembering how images relate to each other

03 September 2021

All in Order

Visual memory, the ability to recall what we've seen, involves both the visual cortex, the part of the brain receiving information from the eyes, and the hippocampus, known to be critical for learning. To better define the function of this area, scientists tested the performance of mice with a damaged hippocampus; pictured are cross-sections of a normal mouse brain (top) and one lacking much of the hippocampus (bottom). Mice can learn individual visual patterns as well as the order in which they are presented, and recording electrical responses from relevant brain areas can demonstrate whether mice perceive images as familiar. Mice with a damaged hippocampus could still recognise single patterns, but their response to sequences of images in familiar or unusual orders was disrupted. The hippocampus thus seems necessary for remembering how stimuli relate to each other, moving us one step closer to understanding how complex memories are made.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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