Scientific Understanding of Consciousness
Consciousness as an Emergent Property of Thalamocortical Activity

Long-Term Memory


Long-Term memories are (encrusted/etched) in the molecular structures of synapses.  An activated long-term memory is a reactivated subset of neuronal pathways via efficacious synapses, closely conforming to an associative triggering cue.

Long-Term memories are stored in the same distributed set of structures that receive, process, and analyze what is to be remembered. (Squire & Kandel; Memory, 88)

Unitary view of memory with a common cortical substrate -- working memory is a temporary activation of updated long-term memory networks for orchestrating actions in the near term. (Fuster; Prefrontal Cortex, 4)

Currently activated memory elements are represented as a subset of long-term memory, and the focus of attention is represented as a subset of the currently activated memory elements. (Cowan; Attention and Memory, 139)


Research Study — Hippocampal Gating by Entorhinal Cortex Long-Range Inhibition

Research Study — Hippocampal Place Cells and Long-Term Memories


The Self subsumes Long-Term Memories

The Self is represented as the entire ensemble of CNS neurons with their dendritic trees and synapses. The Self subsumes the entire ensemble of long-term memories.

Declarative Memory involves a Reconstruction of an original Perception

Declarative memory involves a (reactivation/reconstruction) of a prior pattern of sparse synaptic connections over widely distributed areas of the brain.

Long-Term Memories are established via Memory Consolidation

Memory consolidation, believed to be mediated by rehearsal (i.e. frequent remembering of the memory over days, weeks), involves gene expression and protein synthesis in the synapses, and  converts long-term memories involving the hippocampus, into long-term memories independent of the hippocampus. These long term memories can be invoked by working memory accessing synapse networks (by sending biasing signals selectively to dendritic trees, changing the active state of neurons) throughout the cortex, utilizing thalamocortical loops, without involving the hippocampus.


Research study — Dendritic Spines and Memories — in the mouse cortex, learning and novel sensory experience lead to spine formation and elimination by a protracted process.


Associative Property of Memory

Neocortex recalls patterns autoassociatively, which means it can recall a complete pattern when given only a partial one.   (Gazzaniga; Human, 367)

By the associative property of memory, neural assemblies aggregate via the laws of Gestalts into the sparse but widespread neural assemblies of the dynamic core of consciousness.

Memories are necessarily associative and never identical. (Edelman; Wider than the Sky, 53)


Research study — Memory is Susceptible to Social Influences



Return to — Memory

    Return to — Declarative Memory Classifications