Context-dependent incremental timing cells in the primate hippocampus

John J. Sakon, Yuji Naya, Sylvia Wirth, Wendy A. Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined timing-related signals in primate hippocampal cells as animals performed an object-place (OP) associative learning task. We found hippocampal cells with firing rates that incrementally increased or decreased across the memory delay interval of the task, which we refer to as incremental timing cells (ITCs). Three distinct categories of ITCs were identified. Agnostic ITCs did not distinguish between different trial types. The remaining two categories of cells signaled time and trial context together: One category of cells tracked time depending on the behavioral action required for a correct response (i.e., early vs. late release), whereas the other category of cells tracked time only for those trials cued with a specific OP combination. The context-sensitive ITCs were observed more often during sessions where behavioral learning was observed and exhibited reduced incremental firing on incorrect trials. Thus, single primate hippocampal cells signal information about trial timing, which can be linked with trial type/context in a learning-dependent manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18351-18356
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 23 2014


  • Associative learning
  • Behavioral learning
  • Hippocampus
  • Primate
  • Time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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