The hippocampus is important for the acquisition of spatial representations of the environment and consequently in contextual memory. This suggests that the neural substrates underlying spatial cognition might be essential for remembering specific life episodes. Indeed, hippocampal lesions prevent spatial relational learning in adult rodents and monkeys, and result in profound amnesia in adult humans. In contrast, we show here that monkeys with neonatal hippocampal lesions learned new spatial relational information. Our experiments suggest that early hippocampal damage leads to functional brain reorganization that enables spatial information to be acquired through the use of brain regions that normally do not subserve this function.
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