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Toward A Quantitative View of the Engram

Cherkin, Arthur (1966) Toward A Quantitative View of the Engram. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 55 (1). pp. 88-91. ISSN 0027-8424.

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The qualitative nature of memory remains unknown, but common experience and laboratory observations attest to its quantitative character. Memories may be "strong" or "weak," as judged subjectively or as inferred from animal experiments. The typical experimental measure of a memory is the probability of emission of a learned behavioral response, the observable indicant of the memory. Each indicant is considered to reflect a corresponding memory trace in the brain, the so-called engram. The indicant is quantified, but the corresponding engram is not. This dichotomy adds a conceptual gap to the physiological gap that separates an engram from its indicant. There is a need for language to describe the engram in a quantitative sense, in order to link it more definitely with its measured indicant. It seems timely to introduce a quantitative unit of memory, even though such a unit must as yet be hypothetical, speculative, and tentative.

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Additional Information:Copyright © 1966 by the National Academy of Sciences. Communicated by Linus Pauling, November 19, 1965. This work was supported by USPHS fellowship 1-F3-MH-25,443-01, NIMH, and by the Veterans Administration, Sepulveda, California.
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Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:CHEpnas66
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:10892
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:15 Jun 2008
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 00:14

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