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Hippocampal function in cognition

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Rationale and objectives

Any consideration of cognitive disruption in schizophrenia quite naturally leads to questions concerning the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying normal cognition. This review will describe emerging models for the cellular basis of cognitive processing in the hippocampus.

Methods and results

This review will describe results from several laboratories that have used in vivo recording in behaving rodents to probe the role of the hippocampus in cognition. These exciting studies have indicated a broader role of the hippocampus in general information processing than was previously appreciated. These recent results suggest that the hippocampus is involved in minute-to-minute cognitive processing including spatial information processing, temporal sequencing, and formulating the relationships between objects in the environment.


The hippocampus appears to play a major role in bringing together environmental signals and producing a cohesive and unified percept in the spatial and temporal domains. This new view of the role of the hippocampus in cognition fits strikingly well with models for schizophrenia hypothesizing hippocampal dysfunction as one cause of cognitive decline in schizophrenic patients.

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Supported by the NIMH, NINDS, and the American Health Assistance Foundation.

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Correspondence to J. David Sweatt.

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Sweatt, J.D. Hippocampal function in cognition. Psychopharmacology 174, 99–110 (2004).

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