Studies of human amnesia and studies of an animal model of human amnesia in the monkey have identified the anatomical components of the brain system for memory in the medial temporal lobe and have illuminated its function. This neural system consists of the hippocampus and adjacent, anatomically related cortex, including entorhinal, perirhinal, and parahippocampal cortices. These structures, presumably by virtue of their widespread and reciprocal connections with neocortex, are essential for establishing long-term memory for facts and events (declarative memory). The medial temporal lobe memory system is needed to bind together the distributed storage sites in neocortex that represent a whole memory. However, the role of this system is only temporary. As time passes after learning, memory stored in neocortex gradually becomes independent of medial temporal lobe structures.