A Closer Look at the Hippocampus and Memory

Joel L. Voss, Donna J. Bridge, Neal J. Cohen, John A. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Current interpretations of hippocampal memory function are blind to the fact that viewing behaviors are pervasive and complicate the relationships among perception, behavior, memory, and brain activity. For example, hippocampal activity and associative memory demands increase with stimulus complexity. Stimulus complexity also strongly modulates viewing. Associative processing and viewing thus are often confounded, rendering interpretation of hippocampal activity ambiguous. Similar considerations challenge many accounts of hippocampal function. To explain relationships between memory and viewing, we propose that the hippocampus supports the online memory demands necessary to guide visual exploration. The hippocampus thus orchestrates memory-guided exploration that unfolds over time to build coherent memories. This new perspective on hippocampal function harmonizes with the fact that memory formation and exploratory viewing are tightly intertwined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-588
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • episodic
  • exploration
  • eye-movement tracking
  • fMRI
  • long-term

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'A Closer Look at the Hippocampus and Memory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this