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Creating Modern Neuroscience: The Revolutionary 1950s$
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Gordon M. Shepherd MD, DPhil

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195391503

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391503.001.0001

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Learning and Memory: Donald Hebb, Brenda Milner, and H. M.

Learning and Memory: Donald Hebb, Brenda Milner, and H. M.

(p.160) 12 Learning and Memory: Donald Hebb, Brenda Milner, and H. M.
Creating Modern Neuroscience: The Revolutionary 1950s

Gordon M. Shepherd

Oxford University Press

This chapter details studies on learning and memory by Donald Hebb and Brenda Milner. The leading hypothesis for the neural basis of learning and memory is due to Donald Hebb, as presented in a textbook in 1949; the activity-dependent Hebb synapse remains the focus of much current research. Research in the 1950s extended cortical studies to the limbic lobe, reporting the first evidence for neural mechanisms in the amygdala and other subcortical structures related to emotional behavior. A new chapter in studies of the brain opened with surgical operations for the relief of epilepsy, which showed the critical role of the hippocampus in memory. Bilateral removal of the hippocampus for relief of chronic debilitating epilepsy rendered a patient, H. M., unable to form new memories. A series of studies of H. M., beginning in 1957 and lasting for half a century, by Brenda Milner, delineated the role of the hippocampus in the formation of memories, and launched the new field of cognitive neuroscience.

Keywords:   learning, memory, Brenda Milner, cognitive neuroscience

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