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The Hippocampus and Delayed Recall: Bigger is not Necessarily Better?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Jonathan K. Foster
  • Andrew Meikle
  • Gregory Goodson
  • Andrew R. Mayes
  • Matthew Howard
  • Sandra I. Sunram
  • Enis Cezayirilli
  • Neil Roberts
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1999
Issue number5/6
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)715-732
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Healthy young female participants were tested on a measure of delayed verbal recall and then received volumetric Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans. The analysis of the MRI scans focused on the volume of the hippocampus. Left hippocampal volume was negatively associated with the level of delayed verbal recall performance. This relationshipwas confirmed in further testing. This finding is consistent with a previous report of a similar relationship in healthy elderly individuals, but not in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, in whom the opposite relationship was observed. An explanation of these findings in terms of impaired neural pruning of the hippocampus is advanced, whereby insufficient pruning of the hippocampus during childhood and adolescence (following adequate growth) may lead to reduced mnemonic efficiency.