Published On: 21/01/2002|Categories: 1998–2002, Vol.23 (1), Vol.23 (2002)|


The publication of “The hippocampus as a cognitive map” (O’Keefe & Nadel, 1978) has had a remarkable impact, stimulating a huge amount of both behavioural and neurobiological research on spatial learning and memory, involving both laboratory and field studies, and employing a variety of novel techniques. The reviews of this general area of research provided by the previous contributors to this special issue attest to the progress that has been made since 1978. No one would now doubt that the hippocampus is implicated in the use of configurations of landmarks to locate a goal – in both mammals and birds, although the precise nature of that implication remains a matter of much speculation and debate. On balance, however, the behavioural evidence does not seem to have supported O’Keefe and Nadel’s original hypothesis that true spatial or locale learning is quite distinct from simple associative learning and depends on the establishment of a cognitive map of the environment.

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