Speaker: Professor Edwin Robertson, University of Glasgow
Segregation is a biological motif. Different types of ions are separated across membranes.
Similarly, different memory types are separated across systems.
Memories for events are within one system (declarative memory) while memories for actions and skill are within another system (procedural memory). Yet, breaking down segregation is critical for life.
For example, ion gradients collapse generating electrical impulses, which allows our heart to beat. The collapse of memory segregation may also be important .
It allow ones memory to control the processing of another, which provides a mechanism to control memory fate [2, 3].
The breakdown of segregation also allows highly complex information to be shared between memories.
For example, skill at producing a sequence of movements enhances subsequent learning of a word-list when (and only when) both have a common serial structure (actions vs. words; ).
This allows the flexible application of knowledge in very different situations (generalisation).
It is also highly efficient (both computational and energetic) because sharing prevents the need to replicate information across systems.
References 1. Robertson, E.M. (2022).
Memory leaks: information shared across memory systems.
Trends Cogn Sci 26, 544-554. 2. Tunovic, S., Press, D.Z., and Robertson, E.M. (2014).
A Physiological Signal That Prevents Motor Skill Improvements during Consolidation.
The Journal of Neuroscience 34, 5302-5310. 3 Breton, J., and Robertson, E.M. (2014).
Flipping the switch: mechanisms that regulate memory consolidation.
Trends Cogn Sci 18, 629-634. 4 Mosha, N., and Robertson, E.M. (2016).
Unstable Memories Create a High-Level Representation that Enables Learning Transfer. Curr Biol 26, 100-1