replies to replies to a question

Ron Blue rcb1 at LEX.LCCC.EDU
Fri Nov 8 09:19:41 EST 1996

On 7 Nov 1996, James Woodson wrote:
> >> old *****************
> >> The hippocampus is not, I repeat NOT a known locus of "working memory.
> >> Individuals like Brenda Milner's classically hippocampal H.M. can remember
> >> phone #s, and carry on a relatively coherent conversation with whomever is
> >> in the room at the time, therefore, there is NO deficit in working memory.
> >ok, if this is what you mean by working memory.
> New:  This is the currently accepted definition of working memory.  7 +/- 2
> digits/items, occasionally enhanced by "chunking" items into one coherent
> group.  Fades fast without constant rehearsal or repetition.  See any up to
> date text like those by Pinel, Carlson, or Kandel et. al.
> >>  More recent
> >> work on the hippocampus (See Kim & Fanselow, 1991) suggests that it is
> >> involved in the transition from short term to long term memory known as
> >> consolidation,
> >this is what I meant by working memory.
> New:  Review your terminology:  there is a big difference between working
> memory and consolidation.  In addition, there is a big difference between
> sensation, perception, acquisition, utilization, consolidation, storage,
> and retrieval, all of which are involved in learning and memory.
> Generalizations accomplish virtually nothing.
Baddeley, A. (1992, January 31). Working Memory. Science vol. 255,
p556(4).   It has been four years since I read the aboue.  So my
understanding may not be correct.  Words probably lock around
a Gaussian or prototype memory. 

James is correct that it is functional to be careful with one's
terminology.  So what do I understand and believe the empirical
evidence SUGGEST about working memory?  It has the following
characteristics:  consolidation, review, storage instruction, read
information, temporary storage (short term memory), and a correlational
weighting and comparison system for wavelet anaylsis.

The closest thing to doing the above that would allow a model would the
electronic control systems for computer working with a hard drive.  I use
to play (YES, James I NEVER GREW UP and I am now 53) with a simulation of
how galaxies would create different shapes as stars fell into each other. 
Boy, did it eat up the megs in the hard drive for each calculation.  This
feels to me what the hippicampus is doing.  The feedback loops could turn
off the hippicampus and cause it die, ie. Alzheimers..  Or over use could
cause my hard drive to die. 

> NEW:  Except for the well known fact that rats have about 1000x our sense
> of smell, the rest of your above statement is unjustified by empirical
> evidence. = Speculation.
Speculation can lead to empirical evidence.  Empirical evidence can
lead to creative speculation.  I also prefer empirical evidence
because I have noticed that speculation does not generate truth
at a high frequency.  However, without speculation we will NOT be
looking.  If we are not motivated to look we have dogma.

Without speculation we would not have most of our current knowledge
base.  James is correct that what little we have gain in
empirical knowledge must be held on to tightly.  But this
should not be at the cost of the end of speculation.
Ron Blue

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