SMRITI*: Episodic Memory Formation in the Hippocampal System

From Transient Patterns to Persistent Structures

Lokendra Shastri

Our ability to remember events in our daily life and acquire specific facts after reading a newspaper or watching a newscast underscores our ability to rapidly acquire new memories. In general, these memories encode who did what to whom where and when, and have been described as episodic memories. Neuropsychological, anatomical, and physiological data suggests that the hippocampal system (HS) plays a critical role in the encoding and retrieval of such memories. But how the HS subserves this mnemonic function is not fully understood.

SMRITI* is a computational model that demonstrates how a cortically expressed transient pattern of rhythmic activity representing an event or a situation can be rapidly transformed into a persistent and robust memory trace as a result of long-term potentiation and long-term depression within structures whose architecture and circuitry are consistent with those of the HS.

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This research has been partially supported by NSF grants SBR-9720398 and ECS-9970890, and ONR grant N00014-93-1-1149.

* System for the memorization of relational instances from temporal impulses.

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