Recognition of objects and their contexts is demonstrated based on the intrinsic features of objects (‘what’), as well as for spatial (‘where’) or temporal presentation (‘when’) cues. A network of structures identified in lesion studies forms a neural circuit for object recognition (OR) memory. The role of dopamine (DA) within this network has been investigated using neuropharmacological approaches such as neurotoxic depletion, as well as the delivery of localized drug treatments by microinfusion. By manipulating the timing of drug administration, OR procedures can also be utilized to distinguish effects on encoding, consolidation and/or retrieval. Research has revealed a role for DA neurotransmission in the encoding, retrieval and consolidation of OR memory. The medial prefrontal cortex has been the predominant neuroanatomical focus of these studies but evidence of DA modulation of different aspects of OR memory has also been found in nucleus accumbens, perirhinal cortex and hippocampus. These studies show diverse effects of DA neurotransmission on OR, and gaps in the evidence base suggest future research directions.
Cassaday, H., & Nelson, A. J. (2018). The neuropharmacology of what, where, when: how dopamine modulates recognition memory for objects and their contexts. In A. Ennaceur, & M. A. de Souza Silva (Eds.), Handbook of Object Novelty Recognition, 359-369. Elsevier. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-812012-5.00024-0