The neural basis of nonvisual object recognition memory in the rat

Mathieu M Albasser, Cristian M Olarte-Sánchez, Eman Amin, Murray R Horne, Michael J Newton, E Clea Warburton, John P Aggleton, Cristian Manuel Olarte Sanchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Research into the neural basis of recognition memory has traditionally focused on the remembrance of visual stimuli. The present study examined the neural basis of object recognition memory in the dark, with a view to determining the extent to which it shares common pathways with visual-based object recognition. Experiment 1 assessed the expression of the immediate-early gene c-fos in rats that discriminated novel from familiar objects in the dark (Group Novel). Comparisons made with a control group that explored only familiar objects (Group Familiar) showed that Group Novel had higher c-fos activity in the rostral perirhinal cortex and the lateral entorhinal cortex. Outside the temporal region, Group Novel showed relatively increased c-fos activity in the anterior medial thalamic nucleus and the anterior cingulate cortex. Both the hippocampal CA fields and the granular retrosplenial cortex showed borderline increases in c-fos activity with object novelty. The hippocampal findings prompted Experiment 2. Here, rats with hippocampal lesions were tested in the dark for object recognition memory at different retention delays. Across two replications, no evidence was found that hippocampal lesions impair nonvisual object recognition. The results indicate that in the dark, as in the light, interrelated parahippocampal sites are activated when rats explore novel stimuli. These findings reveal a network of linked c-fos activations that share superficial features with those associated with visual recognition but differ in the fine details; for example, in the locus of the perirhinal cortex activation. While there may also be a relative increase in c-fos activation in the extended-hippocampal system to object recognition in the dark, there was no evidence that this recognition memory problem required an intact hippocampus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-85
Number of pages16
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number1
Early online date17 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

Bibliographical note

(PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).


  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Darkness
  • Entorhinal Cortex
  • Gyrus Cinguli
  • Hippocampus
  • Light
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neurons
  • Olfactory Perception
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Rats
  • Recognition (Psychology)
  • Touch Perception
  • Visual Perception
  • Immediate Early Genes
  • Perirhinal Cortex
  • Recognition Memory
  • Retrosplenial cortex


Dive into the research topics of 'The neural basis of nonvisual object recognition memory in the rat'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this