Object and spatial alternation tasks with minimal delays activate the right anterior proper in humans

Clayton E. Curtis, David H. Zald, Joel T. Lee, José V. Pardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Substantial evidence indicates that the hippocampus plays a critical role in long-term declarative memory. In contrast, the role of the human hippocampus in working memory, particularly when information needs to be maintained only for a few seconds, remains controversial. Using PET, we show robust activation of the right anterior hippocampus proper during the performance of both object and spatial alternation tasks. Hippocampal activation emerged even though subjects only had to remember a single, simple stimulus over a minimum delay of I s. No hippocampal activation occurred when the delay was increased to 5 s. This suggests that the role of the hippocampus in working memory is not to maintain information across a delay interval. Instead, its activity reflects a more transient function during encoding and/or retrieval. These data are among the first observations to demonstrate human hippocampal involvement in working memory. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2203-2207
Number of pages5
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jul 14 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)


  • Memory
  • Object alternation
  • PET
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Spatial alternation
  • Working memory


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