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Peter Bayley "Memory systems and the human brain"

Abstract :

Declarative memory affords the capacity for the conscious recollection of facts and events.
It is widely accepted that declarative memory is dependent on the medial temporal lobe, comprising the hippocampus and surrounding cortices. However, the exact relationship between declarative memory and the medial temporal lobe remains controversial. One source of controversy surrounds autobiographical memory. According to one view, autobiographical memory gradually becomes independent of the medial temporal lobe over time. A different view states that autobiographical memory always requires the medial temporal lobe. I will present recent data from memory-impaired patients suggesting that autobiographical memory becomes independent of the medial temporal lobe. I will also discuss some recent findings concerning the extent to which one memory system can substitute for another.  Specifically, it has been suggested that under certain conditions, declarative knowledge can be acquired independently of the medial temporal lobe. I will present data from a series experiments that examined new learning in patients with almost complete damage to the medial temporal lobe. The experiments shed light on the role of the medial temporal lobe in the acquisition of new information. 

Selected publications

- Bayley, P.J., Frascino, J. C., and Squire, L. R. (2005) Robust habit learning in the absence of awareness and independent of the medial temporal lobe.
Nature, 436, 550-553.
- Bayley, P. J., Gold, J. J., Hopkins, R.O. and Squire, L. R. (2005) The neuroanatomy of remote memory. Neuron, 46, 799-810.
- Bayley, P. J. and Squire, L. R.
(2005) Failure to acquire new semantic knowledge in patients with large medial temporal lobe lesions.
Hippocampus, 15, 273-280.

Bruno Bontempi