To analyse the neural basis of long-term memory, recordings were made from single neurons in monkeys performing a visual recognition task of the type impaired in anterograde amnesia in man. Each visual stimulus was shown twice per day, once as novel, and after 0 to 17 other intervening items in the recognition task, on a second trial, as familiar, when the monkey could lick to obtain fruit juice if he recognized the stimulus correctly. At the anterior border of the thalamus, a population of neurons was found which responded to the stimuli only when they were familiar. The activity of these neurons was not related to lick responses. Further, in a different, visual discrimination, task, a number of these neurons were found to respond both to the familiar rewarded stimulus to which the monkey always licked, and to the familiar avcrsive stimulus to which he did not lick. This shows that in a reward association task these neurons respond on the basis of familiarity, providing evidence for a dissociation of recognition and associative memories. Analysis of the responses of these neurons in the continuous visual recognition task showed that the responses to familiar stimuli were time-locked to the onset and duration of the visual stimulation (brief exposures producing brief responses). The response latencies were in the range 100 to 200 ms. A 100 ms exposure of the stimulus was sufficient for the stimulus to be encoded, and a 100 m
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