X-Message-Number: 7325
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 07:26:19 -0800 (PST)
From: Joseph Strout <>
Subject: More on memory

In Cryomsg #7322, Randy wrote:

> >Instead, it means that each tiny piece is meaningless without the others.
> >On the other hand, it does suggest a good robustness to minor damage,
> >or the sort of minor information loss that is likely to happen. 
> How is this a robust reponse to minor damage, if each tiny piece is
> meaningless without the others? You seem to suggest that either the
> brain is whole, or it is worthless, wrt memory.

I'm sorry, I see that this was unclear.  I meant that if all you have is a
little bit of brain, then it is worthless (wrt memory).  But if you have
an entire brain, then the memories are there, even if the brain has
suffered some damage.

Consider a 5000-piece jigsaw puzzle.  If all you've got is a single piece,
you can't identify the picture.  But if you've got 4990 pieces, some of
which are bent or dog-eared, you can easily tell what the picture is.
That's because the picture is distributed over all 5000 pieces.
Similarly, memories are probably distributed over millions of neurons.

-- Joe

|    Joseph J. Strout           Department of Neuroscience, UCSD   |
|               http://www-acs.ucsd.edu/~jstrout/  |

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