The role of the parahippocampal cortex in cognition

Elissa M. Aminoff, Kestutis Kveraga, Moshe Bar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

330 Scopus citations


The parahippocampal cortex (PHC) has been associated with many cognitive processes, including visuospatial processing and episodic memory. To characterize the role of PHC in cognition, a framework is required that unifies these disparate processes. An overarching account was proposed whereby the PHC is part of a network of brain regions that processes contextual associations. Contextual associations are the principal element underlying many higher-level cognitive processes, and thus are suitable for unifying the PHC literature. Recent findings are reviewed that provide support for the contextual associations account of PHC function. In addition to reconciling a vast breadth of literature, the synthesis presented expands the implications of the proposed account and gives rise to new and general questions about context and cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-390
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Our work is supported by NSF grant BCS-0842947 and Israeli Center of Research Excellence in Cognition (ICORE) grant 51/11 to M.B., NIH grant K01MH084011 to K.K., and Office of Navy Research MURI contract N000141010934 with CNBC and the Department of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University to E.A.


  • Associations
  • Contextual processing
  • Episodic memory
  • Parahippocampal cortex
  • Scenes
  • Spatial processing


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