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The Hippocampus Proves Useful for More Than Just Making Memories

News   Mar 07, 2019 | Original Press Release from Arizona State University

More Than Just Making Memories

The hippocampus is necessary for forming new memories, and researchers from Arizona State University and Stanford University have found another role for this brain structure in learning. The hippocampus (purple) sent important information to brain areas responsible for learning, like the striatum (teal). Specifically, the hippocampus kept track of associations between features in the environment, like the fact that poison ivy plants, with their three leaflets, are red in the fall and spring but are green in the summer. This association between color and leaf shape is necessary to learn to identify poison ivy and not mistake it for plants that look similar, like boxelder (not pictured) that also has three leaflets but is green in the spring. Graphic: Ian C. Ballard. Image credit (top) "Poison ivy" by Stilfehler is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. (bottom) "Poison ivy foliage during autumn leaf coloration in Ewing, New Jersey" by Famartin is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.



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