Some Neurophysiological Considerations Concerning “Memory”

  • O. D. Creutzfeldt


It is proposed that memory is an alteration of filter functions of cortical networks. Such alterations may take place at all levels of sensory (input) and motor (output) systems, and may also involve intrinsic systems such as the hypothalamic and limbic structures. As a simple model for such functional alterations of an analysing network, sensory after-effects are suggested. The McCOLLOUGH-effect is demonstrated and interpreted as temporary alteration of inhibitory connections between colour sensitive cells and orientation sensitive cells in a cortical column. Such an interpretation suggests that an alteration of inhibitory connections may play an essential role in “learning”. Local changes in minute neuronal circuitries such as certain cortical “columns” in an otherwise homogeneous neuronal structure may be sufficient to induce an alteration of the filter function of the whole cortical area. The hypothesis that specific memory substances may be responsible for deposition and recall of complex perceptual or behavioural patterns is not necessary for a neurophysiological memory model, and is actually incompatible with many neurophysiological observations.


Visual Cortex Sensitive Cell Cortical Network Filter Function Inhibitory Connection 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. D. Creutzfeldt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurobiologyMax-Planck-Institute of Biophysical Chemistry34 GöttingenGermany

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