Context‐Dependent Firing of Hippocampal Place Cells: Does It Underlie Memory?
The relationship between context-dependent hippocampal activity and tasks that are hippocampus dependent is not clear-cut. Although in some hippocampus-dependent tasks context-dependent place field firing is seen, in others it is not. Furthermore, in some tasks that don't require a hippocampus, context-dependent activity is observed. This chapter reviews these three patterns of results and identifies the task characteristics that yield context-dependent place cell firing, as well as the characteristics of tasks that require the hippocampus. It is argued that at the very least, structures outside the hippocampus are capable of mediating context discrimination sufficient to support some kinds of context-dependent behaviors. This suggests that the hippocampus is one component of a network of structures that together allow context discrimination and mediate the performance of context-dependent memory tasks.
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