Roles of human hippocampal subfields in retrieval of spatial and temporal context

Colin T. Kyle, Dana N. Smuda, Abdul S. Hassan, Arne D. Ekstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


While numerous studies indicate the involvement of the hippocampus in encoding and retrieval of spatial and temporal context, the neural basis of spatial and temporal processing within the hippocampal circuit remains unclear. We employed a novel paradigm in which participants encoded stores within a spatial layout by visiting them in a specific temporal order. Participants then underwent high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) targeting the hippocampus while retrieving details of the spatial or temporal context in alternating blocks. During retrieval, participants made judgments about either near or far intervals within the spatial layout or temporal sequence. Across both near and far intervals, we found that retrieving spatial layout and temporal order information resulted in comparable levels of activation in the hippocampus that was not preferentially localized to a specific subfield. Furthermore, using a multivariate approach called multivariate pattern similarity analysis (MPSA), we found that correct near judgments vs. correct far judgments differed in their patterns of activity for spatial vs. temporal order judgments. Despite these differences in MPSA patterns, we did not find any specific subfields differentially recruited for spatial vs. temporal order retrieval. We discuss our results in terms of their relation to computational models of hippocampal subfield function and suggest mechanisms by which the hippocampus could process space and temporal order without the need for specific contributions from hippocampal subfields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-558
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • FMRI
  • Hippocampus
  • Multivariate
  • Navigation
  • Spatial
  • Temporal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Roles of human hippocampal subfields in retrieval of spatial and temporal context'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this