How Does the Brain Organize Memories?

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Science  18 Jul 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5324, pp. 330-332
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5324.330

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Howard Eichenbaum In this issue of Science, Vargha-Khadem et al. report that three patients who had very specific loss of their hippocampi within the first few years of life showed a severe loss of episodic memory (our record of personal events), but that their semantic memory (our lifetime accumulation of universal factual knowledge) was intact. In his Perspective, Eichenbaum explains what these results mean for the classification of different types of memory and their correspondence with distinct regions of the brain. He outlines the emerging notion of the hippocampus as the area that facilitates associations of memories from different perceptual modalities (a face with a particular voice, for example).