Simple Memory: A Theory for Archicortex

D. Marr


It is proposed that the most important characteristic of archicortex is its ability to perform a simple kind of memorizing task. It is shown that rather general numerical constraints roughly determine the dimensions of memorizing models for the mammalian brain, and from these is derived a general model for archicortex. The addition of further constraints leads to the notion of a simple representation, which is a way of translating a great deal of information into the firing of about 200 out of a population of 10<latex>$^5$</latex> cells. It is shown that if about 10<latex>$^5$</latex> simple representations are stored in such a population of cells, very little information about a single learnt event is necessary to provoke its recall. A detailed numerical examination is made of a particular example of this kind of memory, and various general conclusions are drawn from the analysis. The insight gained from these models is used to derive theories for various archicortical areas. A functional interpretation is given of the cells and synapses of the area entorhinalis, the prcsubiculum, the prosubiculum, the cornu ammonis and the fascia dentata. Many predictions are made, a substantial number of which must be true if the theory is correct. A general functional classification of typical archicortical cells is proposed.