Fixed Engrams and Neural Dynamics
Updated: Jan 13, 2020
The idea that remembering involves an engram, becoming stable and permanent via consolidation, has guided the neuroscience of memory since its inception. The shift to thinking of memory as continuous and dynamic, as part of a trend toward neural dynamics, has challenged this commitment, with some calling for “the demise of the fixed trace” (Nadel 2007) and others urging rejection of the “consolidation dogma” (Silva 2007). Does consideration of neural dynamics offer reasons to reject engram theory? No. I argue that they are compatible. At most, shifting to a dynamic view of neural processes compels revision of the implementational details.
Above is the abstract for a paper forthcoming in Philosophy of Science. A pre-print can be found on the Phil Sci Archive: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/