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Learning regularities in the environment is a fundamental of human cognition that is supported by a network of brain regions that include the hippocampus. In two experiments, we assessed the effects of selective bilateral damage to human hippocampal subregion CA3, which was associated with autobiographical episodic amnesia extending ~50 years prior to the damage, on the ability to recognize complex, deterministic event sequences presented either in a spatial or a non-spatial configuration. In contrast to findings from related paradigms, modalities, and homologue species, hippocampal damage did not preclude recognition memory for an event sequence studied and tested at four spatial locations, whereas recognition memory for an event sequence presented at single location was at chance. In two additional experiments, recognition memory for novel single-items was intact, whereas the ability to recognize novel single-items in a different location from that presented at study was at chance. The results are at variance with a general role of the hippocampus in the learning and recognition of complex event sequences based on non-adjacent spatial and temporal dependencies. We discuss the impact of the results on established theoretical accounts of the hippocampal contributions to implicit sequence learning and episodic memory.

Original publication




Journal article


Cogn Neurosci

Publication Date



1 - 29


Amnesia, autoimmune encephalitis, hippocampal subfields, implicit memory, item memory, recognition memory, sequence learning