The Engram Problem

Joseph Martin III joseph.martin54 at
Wed Jun 19 23:35:40 EST 2002

Does sound interesting too.....but I'll still throw my own two cents in, but
I readily admit that I have not kept up with recent advances in the
neuroscience of memory.......too busy in the day to day world of neuropsych

I'd agree that memory is based on the performance of the neural network, but
my own personal thought is that what will eventually be found is that
specific memories are not the pattern of the entire network, but rather than
patterns generated through particular sensory subsytems within the brain.
That is to say, for example, that visual memory of a particular event is a
neural firing pattern within the occipital lobe that closely resembles a
previous firing pattern. Perhaps the strength or detail of the memory is
related to the number and duration of neural firings within  a particular

The interesting question for me would be do these areas operate
independently in generating memories or do they need some sort of pattern
recognition process to identify (at least consciously) a particular neural
pattern as being familiar.  Perhaps this is where some of the old structures
of memory, Hippocampus, Cingulate Gyrus, etc, actually play a role.  Rather,
than as was once thought, they are the seats of memory, they are in some
sense, the areas where patterns are encoded and stored and thus recognized
when they occur again.  This neural recognition we thus call memory. Once a
particular modality "recognizes" a patern it then leads to a triggering of
patterns within other areas of the brain that we would call associated

Of course this is all really terribly, horrifyingly, simplified and most
probably the reality is some combination of both direct neural pattern
memory and indirect neural pattern recognition, for there are many types of
memory and any theories of the brain's processing of memory will have to
account for things such as implicit versus explicit memory and the patterns
of memory loss associated with various neurological disorders and traumatic
injuries, etc...

Anyways, I may be talking out my ass again, but those are just my

Joseph III

"James Teo" <james at> wrote in message
news:3d106376.1396898 at
> On Tue, 18 Jun 2002 18:34:55 GMT, "Kenneth Collins"
> <k.p.collins at> wrote:
> >my view is that Karl Lashley got it right ~~50 years ago.
> >
> >what's referred to as "memory" occurs as a function of the whole network,
> >the network 'strives' ['blindly' and automatically] to achieve maximized
> >'inhibition' and minimized 'excitation' topologically-distributed within
> >[shorthand TD E/I(min); the minimization of the topologically-distributed
> >[relative] ratios of excitation to inhibition].
> >
> >it works be-cause it's all rigorously aligned with the one-way flow of
> >energy from order to disorder that is what's described by 2nd Thermo
> >[WDB2T], and so is the rest of physical reality.
> >
> >no one will ever 'find a memory in a neuron', all they'll ever find is
> >or that neuron's functional contributions to 'memories' that're stored,
> >retrieved and cross-correlated ['associated'] within the neural topology
> >a whole.
> >
> >[i've got an old hypertext monograph that outlines the mechanism. i'll
> >it to you [and anyone else] if you [and/or they] want it. [dl about 300k,
> >expands to a meg, runs under Windows.]]
> >
> >k. p. collins [ken]
> >
> Me too. Can I have one too?

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