This is just a clearer culmination of three rushed posts describing my theories on human memory.
I thought I’d place it here on my project thread to save reposting on the original thread.Memory Theory
I think that long/ medium/ short term memories/ experiences and knowledge all use exactly the same architecture; what differentiates long/ short memories/ knowledge is that when memories are first created they are weak (short term) and as they become consolidated over time they form stronger (long term) memories/ knowledge.
Short term memories are initially formed from the current state ‘global thought pattern’ (GTP); or pattern of activation within the synapses/ neurons at any given moment. Associations are formed through weak synaptic links carved by our current thought pattern. The weak memory engram exists within the structure of the strong long term learning.
Long term memories are stored in the synapse patterns that connect the groups of neurons. Remembered items are composed of sparsely distributed neuron groups that represent a particular facet of the item.
Our consciousness is the pattern of activation running within this memory/ knowledge structure.
I’ve shown this vid before but it’s a good example of how complex the GTP is. Each pixel represents a neuron in the AGI’s frontal cortex. Linked to the back of each pixel are connections (white matter tracts) to other areas of the overall cortex. The machine is sleeping and what you are looking at are patterns formed from memories/ experiences blending together; each memory is triggering other memories; the pattern constantly flows from one state of ‘thought’ to the next. At 6 seconds into the vid a blue (high activity) region appears (lower middle)… this was me talking. The machine was still listening even though it was sleeping… that activity influenced the whole pattern as it tried to make sense of the sensory input; a ‘thought’ pattern is very fluid and complex.Forming New Memories
We build our knowledge representations in a hierarchical manner; new knowledge is based/ built on our understanding of old knowledge.
Our understanding of our current experience is created from the GTP which is comprised of the parts of memories/ knowledge relevant to this moment of time… it’s the state of this pattern that new memories are formed from. When we initially form a memory we are linking together existing knowledge/ understanding/ experiences with weak synaptic connections/ associations.
If you were to learn a new property of water for example; your brain doesn't have to update all your individual knowledge/ memories regarding water and its uses/ properties… it simply has to include the new property into the GTP representing water when ever you think of it.
The brain tends to record only novel experiences; a new memory is formed from novel differences the brain has not encountered before. This happens at the synaptic level and so is very difficult to relate to the consciousness level.
So any new memory is the brain recording our current state of consciousness; to understand this moment in time we are using hundreds of ‘long term’ memories and knowledge. To remember a list of words or numbers for example, you have to be able to recognise and understand the items; you can’t remember what you don’t recognise/ understand.
The brain doesn’t record the incoming experience… it records its current understanding of it though its previous experiences/ knowledge.
Look at the letter ‘C’; that has just included a pattern into your GTP that represents (too you) that letter… now look at ‘A’; now that pattern is included. The two separate patterns have created a merged pattern that represents ‘CA’ and already your brain/ cortex is firing other patterns that relate to ‘CA’. Now look at ‘T’… bingo. The combined pattern of the three letters was instantly recognised by areas of your cortex that then ‘fired’ the pattern for ‘CAT’ back into you GTP intern firing patterns that represent the general concept of ‘CAT’. At the same time there where patterns running that covered this topic, your body posture, how comfortable you feel, etc. Reading this paragraph and your thoughts/ opinions on it have altered your GTP; you don’t need to remember the letters ‘CAT’ or even the basic method of explanation I’ve used; they are already well engrained… it’s the new/ different bits of the pattern that get etched into your synapses.
If you look at this sum 5+5= you don’t have to mentally count or add the numbers on your fingers; the visual pattern of seeing the sum fires a globally understood pattern that represents 10.Memory Structure
Different brain structures contribute certain facets to the memory. The limbic network adds a very strong emotional facet to a memories overall pattern; other areas add temporal and episodic order to our memories.
This might explain why a scientist/ neuroscientist might think different memories are stored in separate brain regions. Different brain regions supply different facets of a memory. The Hippocampus (could be revised) for example provides an index/ temporal date stamp to a memory as its being stored (not read); if they where viewing frmi results on memory consolidation they would be measuring the difference between existing knowledge and new learning. The new learning would require a recent time/ stamp that would activate the Hippocampus (episodic), blood would flow to this region highlighting it.
This is a diagram showing a rough map of where the various categories within the circle where detected upon the human cortex surface.
This is a short video showing the same/ similar category organisation within my AGI’s cortex. As usual the forty test patterns (phonemes, images, etc) are shown on the right; the confidence in recognition (height of the bar) is shown on the bottom left. Notice the regular modulated input pattern below the pattern input on the right. The cortex section has very high confidence in its recognition of the patterns until I click ‘A’ in the lower right to turn this regular injected pattern off. Then the cortex sections confidence drops/ stops… I have removed a facet of the overall pattern that the system was using to recognise the patterns. This is a kin to disconnecting the hippocampus or limbic system… it makes a big difference.
A Memory is never moved around inside the brain; it’s never moved from short to long term storage. ‘Memories’ are never searched either (searching is a serial schema); because of the parallel architecture the brain has no need to search. The ‘thought pattern’ flows from one pattern of depolarized neurons to the next pattern through the axons/ synapses/ connectome; it’s the structure that stores the long term memories. Accessing Memories
We access our memories in a holographic manner; any part of a memory will trigger the rest.
When we use a piece of knowledge or a skill we also have access to when and where we learned it; sometimes it will effect our use of the knowledge (bedside manner for a doctor); how the use of the memory/ knowledge effects us is governed by the global thought pattern and what the main situation/ topic/ goal/ task is. It’s our focus/ attention (also part of the global pattern) that dictates the effect of the memory/ knowledge on our current consciousness and what sections of the memory/ knowledge are relevant to the current task.
When a particular pattern is recognised the resulting output pattern is added to the overall GTP; this changes/ morphs/ phases the GTP which is in turn recognised by other areas… repeat.
A young child has more synapse than you or I but could never grasp the concepts of this conversation because they have no prior experience/ knowledge to create their memories on/ from. Memory Problems
If any of the original facets that the memory was comprised of are compromised in some way it can make retrieval difficult from that aspect, time, location, etc… we all use the tactic of thinking of related/ similar memories when trying to recall a weak memory, you’re just trying to produce a global pattern conducive to triggering the required memory; trying to fill in the missing blanks in the pattern that will trigger retrieval.
To remember what I had for breakfast I have to use strong/ long term memories. To understand what the items were, what they were called, even the concept of ‘breakfast’ requires a lot of strong/ long term understanding/ knowledge/ memories. The weak/ short term bit of the memory is what links all the various items together along with a location/ timestamp/ index/ etc that I would recall as ‘earlier today’. For the unfortunate people who have difficulty retrieving today’s (short term) memories I would wager they have a problem with a brain region responsible for temporal tagging/ indexing the memory as ‘today/ recent’
My AGI is based on the mammalian connectome and exhibits both/ all these memory traits; this is why I believe I am correct in my assumptions.