Book Definition: A component of the limbic system, involved in establishing long-term memories.

Simply Put

  • The Hippocampus, establishes long term memories and helps us to connect the past with the present.


  • Remembering someone you were once really close with from a decade ago, and wishing they were here today.
  • If you were attacked badly by a dog at a young age, never forgetting that experience may cause an uneasy feeling towards all dogs.
  • Remembering your old phone number from 5 years ago.
  • You could use a cognitive map to backtrack where you put something in your house.Your hippocampus allows you to store an image of the inside of your house in your long term memory.
  • when studying for a vocabulary test in Spanish class, being able to remember the word that was stored into your long term memory, and say what it means, means you can recall it.

external image hippomaroon.gifexternal image limbic1_finished.jpg

Research Project

It was reported in 1957, by Scoville and Milner, that a patient, H.M., underwent a bilateral hippocampal removal (or in lamence terms, had his hippocampus removed from both sides of his brain). The hippocampus' main function is to establish long term memories and have the ability to recall them later. After H.M. had his hippocampus removed he lost all ability to encode new information for the long term memory or recall old memories. These two things are know as retrograde amnesia (the inability to recall old memories) and anterograde amnesia (the ability to form new information). This case study of H.M. showed the long-term effects of a bilateral hippocampal removal.

See Also

cognitive map
click here to see some interesting facts about the hippocampus and epilepsy:
More info on the hippocampus: