"Hippocampus" is the Latin word for seahorse. The human hippocampus was named because it looked to those who viewed it to be a seahorse-like shape. The hippocampus is part of a system that commands many bodily functions: the limbic system, which is located in the brain's medial temporal lobe. The hippocampus is responsible for long-term or "declarative" memory. A tutorial published by the Washington University School of Medicine compares different types of memory to functions of a computer--long term memory is likened to a computer hard drive. Long term memory is like a compilation of data in our conscious memory and all of our gathered knowledge and experiences. The hippocampus is involved in the storage of all of this data; however, scientists are unsure exactly how this occurs. The hippocampus is not involved with short term memory and procedural memory types;these are apparently handled by the cortex and the cerebellum. Research has proven the hippocampus'; role in long-term memory. Those that have lost function or had removed major portions of the limbic system, but still have the hippocampus, have absolutely nothing but long-term memory and cannot record any new memories or functions.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Hippocampus

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