Sequence Memory in the Hippocampal–Entorhinal Region
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 2020, 32 2056-2070. https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01592
Episodic memories are constructed from sequences of events. When recalling such a memory, we not only recall individual events, but we also retrieve information about how the sequence of events unfolded. Here, we focus on the role of the hippocampal–entorhinal region in processing and remembering sequences of events, which are thought to be stored in relational networks. We summarize evidence that temporal relations are a central organizational principle for memories in the hippocampus. Importantly, we incorporate novel insights from recent studies about the role of the adjacent entorhinal cortex in sequence memory. In rodents, the lateral entorhinal subregion carries temporal information during ongoing behavior. The human homologue is recruited during memory recall where its representations reflect the temporal relationships between events encountered in a sequence. We further introduce the idea that the hippocampal–entorhinal region might enable temporal scaling of sequence representations. Flexible changes of sequence progression speed could underlie the traversal of episodic memories and mental simulations at different paces. In conclusion, we describe how the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus contribute to remembering event sequences—a core component of episodic memory.