Space, Time, and the Hippocampus
Kesner’s attribute model of memory endows the hippocampus with the ability to code both time and space. These two parameters are intertwined in their very essence and lend structure to the ongoing autobiographical record of an organism. Kesner’s addition of time and temporal processing to the notion that the hippocampus supports a spatial cognitive map, fused hippocampal theory into a coherent framework for human and non-human animals. The mechanism by which the hippocampus and its associated circuitry supports memory for time is a fertile area of research that was seeded by Kesner and his contemporaries. The inherent physiological properties of the hippocampus support Kesner’s original hypothesis, emphasizing that temporal and spatial inputs converge in the hippocampus. The temporal scale of this convergence is evident from patterns of neuronal firing to enduring memories.
KeywordsTemporal order Episodic memory Place cells Dentate gyrus Neurogenesis Neurophysiology
Recollections of the Kesner Lab
My (Chiba’s) memories of Ray Kesner’s lab in the context of graduate school surround the time of exciting theoretical advances, pushing the attribute model from a static to an active processing model. Daily candid exchanges were inspired by Ray’s openness to creatively and rigorously testing, rather than simply supporting his theories. Ray’s approach provided a platform for learning across several different labs working on similar questions. His genius for behavioral design and effervescence was contagious and as such all of us from that era inherited a portion of his passion and made his science part of our own. To our post-docs and students, there was nothing more inspiring than their first meal with Ray who is particularly facile at using restaurant condiments to represent all physical aspects of an experiment. The prize of the meal was the napkin covered with newly designed experiments to test the question of the evening. Each of us aspired to take at least some small aspect of Ray back to the lab. To Ray, we owe our intrinsic satisfaction from beautiful science; this is what makes a scientist for life and across many venues. What rich and perplexing lives he has given us. Thank you, Ray!
I (Chiba) also wish to acknowledge the late Dr. William H. Saufley II, a student of Underwood’s, who instilled my early desire to pursue science and directed me towards Ray’s Chapter in Learning and Memory: A Biological View (Eds. J L Martinez and R P Kesner 1986). This eye-catching book illuminated the path to Ray’s lab.
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