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Comparing and contrasting the cognitive effects of hippocampal and ventromedial prefrontal cortex damage: A review of human lesion studies.

McCormick, C; Ciaramelli, E; De Luca, F; Maguire, EA; (2017) Comparing and contrasting the cognitive effects of hippocampal and ventromedial prefrontal cortex damage: A review of human lesion studies. Neuroscience 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.07.066. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The hippocampus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) are closely connected brain regions whose functions are still debated. In order to offer a fresh perspective on understanding the contributions of these two brain regions to cognition, in this review we considered cognitive tasks that usually elicit deficits in hippocampal-damaged patients (e.g., autobiographical memory retrieval), and examined the performance of vmPFC-lesioned patients on these tasks. We then took cognitive tasks where performance is typically compromised following vmPFC damage (e.g., decision making), and looked at how these are affected by hippocampal lesions. Three salient motifs emerged. First, there are surprising gaps in our knowledge about how hippocampal and vmPFC patients perform on tasks typically associated with the other group. Second, while hippocampal or vmPFC damage seems to adversely affect performance on so-called hippocampal tasks, the performance of hippocampal and vmPFC patients clearly diverges on classic vmPFC tasks. Third, although performance appears analogous on hippocampal tasks, on closer inspection, there are significant disparities between hippocampal and vmPFC patients. Based on these findings, we suggest a tentative hierarchical model to explain the functions of the hippocampus and vmPFC. We propose that the vmPFC initiates the construction of mental scenes by coordinating the curation of relevant elements from neocortical areas, which are then funneled into the hippocampus to build a scene. The vmPFC then engages in iterative re-initiation via feedback loops with neocortex and hippocampus to facilitate the flow and integration of the multiple scenes that comprise the coherent unfolding of an extended mental event.

Type: Article
Title: Comparing and contrasting the cognitive effects of hippocampal and ventromedial prefrontal cortex damage: A review of human lesion studies.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.07.066
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.07.066
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of IBRO. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Amnesia, autobiographical memory, decision making, hippocampus, scene construction, vmPFC
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1571589
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