Why does the brain contain more than one memory system? Genetic algorithms can play a role in elucidating this question. Here, model animals were constructed containing a dorsal striatal layer that controlled actions, and a ventral striatal layer that controlled a dopaminergic learning signal. Both layers could gain access to three modeled memory stores, but such access was penalized as energy expenditure. Model animals were then selected on their fitness in simulated operant conditioning tasks. Results suggest that having access to multiple memory stores and their representations is important in learning to regulate dopamine release, as well as in contextual discrimination. For simple operant conditioning, as well as stimulus discrimination, hippocampal compound representations turned out to suffice, a counterintuitive result given findings that hippocampal lesions tend not to affect performance in such tasks. We argue that there is in fact evidence to support a role for compound representations and the hippocampus in even the simplest conditioning tasks. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.