The hippocampus is part of the limbic system, which directs many bodily functions. This system is located in the brain’s medial temporal lobe, near the center of the brain.

The hippocampus gets its name from its shape, being the Latin name for a seahorse. It is a complex structure that plays a role in memory, learning, and movement. It also contributes to emotional behavior.

The hippocampus is involved in the storage of long-term memory, which includes all past knowledge and experiences.  Scientists are unsure exactly how this occurs.  In particular, the hippocampus seems to play a major role in declarative memory, the type of memory involving things that can be purposely recalled, such as facts or events.

The hippocampus is not involved with short-term memory and procedural memory types (memory of how to do motor actions, like walking). These are primarily handled by the cortex and the cerebellum.

Those that have lost function or had removed major portions of the limbic system but still have the hippocampus, have only long-term memory and cannot record any new memories or functions.