Associations between memory traces emerge in a generic neural circuit model through STDP

C. Pokorny, M. J. Ison, A. Rao, R. Legenstein, C. Papadimitriou, and W. Maass

Abstract:

The formation of associations between memory items, that enables recall of one memory component by activating another, is a fundamental operation of higher brain function. Recent neural recordings provide insight into the way how such associations are encoded on the level of neurons in the human medial temporal lobe (MTL). We show that important features of these experimental data can be reproduced by a generic neural circuit model consisting of excitatory and inhibitory spiking neurons with data-based shortand long-term synaptic plasticity. A key result of the experimental data and the model is that the association process causes the emergence of overlaps between the assemblies of neurons that encode the memory components. These overlaps appear in the experiments and the model at the same time when the association becomes computationally functional. Hence our model elucidates computational and plasticity processes that are likely to shape memory systems in the brain.



Reference: C. Pokorny, M. J. Ison, A. Rao, R. Legenstein, C. Papadimitriou, and W. Maass. Associations between memory traces emerge in a generic neural circuit model through STDP. bioRxiv:188938, 2017.