Remote spatial memory in an amnesic person with extensive bilateral hippocampal lesions

R. Shayna Rosenbaum, Sandra Priselac, Stefan Köhler, Sandra E. Black, Fuqiang Gao, Lynn Nadel, Morris Moscovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

244 Scopus citations


The hippocampus may have a time-limited role in memory, being needed only until information is permanently stored elsewhere, or this region may permanently represent long-term allocentric spatial information or cognitive maps in memory. To test these ideas, we investigated remote spatial memory in K.C., a patient with bilateral hippocampal lesions and amnesia for autobiographical events. In his spatial knowledge, general aspects were preserved, but details were lost, a pattern that resembled his memory loss in other domains. K.C. performed normally on allocentric spatial tests of his neighborhood and the world. He had difficulty, however, in recognizing and identifying non-salient neighborhood landmarks, and in recognizing city locations on world maps. This suggests that the hippocampus is not crucial for maintenance and retrieval of remotely formed spatial representations of major landmarks, routes, distances and directions, but is necessary for specifying location details, regardless of when they were acquired.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1044-1048
Number of pages5
JournalNature neuroscience
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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