A larger hippocampus is associated with longer-lasting spatial memory


The National Academy of Sciences


Volumetric studies in a range of animals (London taxi-drivers, polygynous male voles, nest-parasitic female cowbirds, and a number of food-storing birds) have shown that the size of the hippocampus, a brain region essential to learning and memory, is correlated with tasks involving an extra demand for spatial learning and memory. In this paper, we report the quantitative advantage that food storers gain from such an enlargement. Coal tits (Parus ater) a food-storing species, performed better than great tits (Parus major), a nonstoring species, on a task that assessed memory persistence but not on a task that assessed memory resolution or on one that tested memory capacity. These results show that the advantage to the food-storing species associated with an enlarged hippocampus is one of memory persistence.

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