Monkeys with conjoint bilateral lesions of the hippocampus and amygdala were impaired
on four different tests of memory (delayed retention of object discriminations, concurrent
discrimination, delayed response, and delayed nonmatching to sample). Because tests
involving delays and distractions are known to be especially sensitive to human amnesia,
in three of the tasks relatively long delay intervals between training and test trials
were used, and in two tasks distraction was introduced during the delay intervals.
The severity of the impairment increased with the length of the delay, and distraction
markedly increased the memory impairment. For one task given on two occasions (delayed
nonmatching to sample), the severity of the impairment was unchanged over a period
of 1.5 years. Taken together with previous findings that skill learning is unimpaired
in the same operated monkeys, the results of the present study strengthen the conclusion
that monkeys with medial temporal lesions constitute an animal model of human amnesia.
In addition, the four tasks used here appear to constitute a sensitive and appropriate
battery that could be used in other studies of the neuroanatomy of memory functions
in the monkey.