Removal of the Amygdala Plus Subjacent Cortex Disrupts the Retention of Both Intramodal and Crossmodal Associative Memories in Monkeys

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Naive rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) were trained preoperatively in an automated test apparatus on an auditory–visual (crossmodal) conditional task or on a visual–visual (intramodal) conditional task that involved learning a fixed set of stimulus–stimulus associations or paired associates. After having learned their respective tasks, each monkey received bilateral removal of the amygdala plus subjacent cortex. The 2 experimental groups showed equally poor retention of the stimulus–stimulus associations and subsequently relearned their respective crossmodal and intramodal associations at the same rate. These data argue against the idea that the amygdala is specialized for crossmodal associations. Instead, the data indicate that the amygdala or its underlying cortex, or both, play a more generalized role in stimulus–stimulus associative memory.

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