Complex Biological Memory Conceptualized as an Abstract Communication System–Human Long Term Memories Grow in Complexity during Sleep and Undergo Selection while Awake

  • Bruce G. Charlton
  • Peter Andras
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


Biological memory in humans and other animals with a central nervous system is often extremely complex in its organization and functioning.A description of memory from the perspective of complex systems may therefore be useful to interpret and understand existing neurobiological data and to plan future research. We define systems in terms of communications.A system does not include the communication units (‘CUs’) that produce and receive communications. A dense cluster of inter-referencing communications surrounded by rare set of communications constitutes a communication system. Memory systems are based on communication units that are more temporally stable than the CUs of the system which is using the memory system. We propose that the long term memory (LTM) system is a very large potential set of neurons among which self-reproducing communication networks (i.e. individual memories) may be established, propagate and grow. Long term memories consist of networks of self-reproducing communications between the neurons of the LTM. Neurons constitute the main communication units in the system, but neurons are not part of the abstract system of memory.


Long Term Memory Memory System Memory Function Term Memory Early Communication 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

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  • Bruce G. Charlton
  • Peter Andras

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