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Specific hippocampal representations are linked to generalized cortical representations in memory


Memories link information about specific experiences to more general knowledge that is abstracted from and contextualizes those experiences. Hippocampal-cortical activity patterns representing features of past experience are reinstated during awake memory reactivation events, but whether representations of both specific and general features of experience are simultaneously reinstated remains unknown. We examined hippocampal and prefrontal cortical firing patterns during memory reactivation in rats performing a well-learned foraging task with multiple spatial paths. We found that specific hippocampal place representations are preferentially reactivated with the subset of prefrontal cortical task representations that generalize across different paths. Our results suggest that hippocampal-cortical networks maintain links between stored representations for specific and general features of experience, which could support abstraction and task guidance in mammals.

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