Strong evidence suggests that the macaque monkey perirhinal cortex is involved in both the initial formation as well as the long-term storage of associative memory. To examine the neurophysiological basis of associative memory formation in this area, we recorded neural activity in this region as monkeys learned new conditional-motor associations. We report that a population of perirhinal neurons signal newly learned associations by changing their firing rate correlated with the animal's behavioral learning curve. Individual perirhinal neurons signal learning of one or more associations concurrently and these neural changes could occur before, at the same time, or after behavioral learning was expressed. We also compared the associative learning signals in the perirhinal cortex to our previous findings in the hippocampus. We report global similarities in both the learning-related and task-related activity seen across these areas as well as clear differences in the within and across trial timing and relative proportion of different subtypes of learning-related signals. Taken together, these findings emphasize the important role of the perirhinal cortex in new associative learning and suggest that the perirhinal cortex together with the hippocampus contribute importantly to conditional-motor associative memory formation.
- Changing cells
- Conditional-motor associations
- Medial temporal lobe
- Stimulus-response learning
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience