(Top) 

EXAMPLES OF BRAIN MEMORY MECHANISMS

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

See supplementary material:

learning steps

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

See supplementary material:

errors in recall with processing

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

See supplementary material:

fear memory formation

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

 

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

(Return to top/overview,

return to overall plan of brain memory study,

return to homepage.)

+

+

+

+

+

OVERVIEW OF CONTENTS

SEQUENTIAL EPISODIC MEMORY 

Input mechanism

Storage mechanism

Recall of episodic memories without processing

Recall with processing

Recall with further processing – crossing a river

 

PROCEDURAL MEMORY

Input mechanism

Storage mechanism

Recall without processing

Recall with processing

 

 

CONDITIONING

 

Input and storage

Recall without processing

Recall with processing

Recall with further processing – fear extinction

 

 

  SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL  

SEQUENTIAL EPISODIC MEMORY

Sequences are commonplace in episodic memories and make up a large proportion of our autobiographical memory, e.g. story-telling, singing songs.

Input mechanism

Most episodic memories are based on the visual and auditory senses and the information obtained from the external environment during the event. Other sensory information is also inputted, but ´outside the box` thinking suggests that this information is imported into the visual and auditory sequential memories as supplementary material and is not recorded as sequences in its own right. This view is based on self-experience – the smell of burning is layered onto the visual memory of the cake burning and the actions taken. Without this visual memory, it is virtually impossible to describe the smell of burning or recall the odorants changing with time.

We have to assume that the mechanism of input for sequential episodic memories consists of thousands of ´freeze-frame` type events and that the input follows the lines described for other sequence material.  ´Real-time` visual processing will occur as fast as cellular physiology will allow and some research has shown that this is probably around 25 ´frames` per second. Visual input concerns only the perception of the event with priority on reference points and the formation of the appropriate iNCA. ´Outside the box` thinking suggests that the mechanism of input follows that of movement, and that recording of sequences shows a definitive need for the successive frames to be linked together. Since many features are unaltered between one time frame and another (core features), firing of these cells will be sustained through firing from the lower levels and the V1 feedback and hence the shift between sensory stores and short-term memory stores, the iNCA, will occur for these features. Saccades may play a role in sustaining activation, but with the continual change due to the progressing visual image it is probably not necessary. Cells showing changes will have higher priority to fire to the higher levels due to lateral inhibition and core feature cells suffering from refractory period inactivation and these will form the short-term memory stores of the next time frame. Re-assertion of core features will occur when necessary. This results in visual images changing with time. 

Sequential auditory information can also be included in the episodic memory for an event and is also dealt with as individual sounds in a chain. The connectivity between these individual iNCA is then conferred at the storage stage. Unlike visual information, core features are unlikely to exist between sounds in a series and therefore, auditory stores formed for each time frame reflect the maximum amount of information required in auditory memories.

The value of episodic memories is that they involve not only informational and motor systems, but also the emotional systems. Emotions are inputted into the brain memories in the form of a record of the OWL at the time of the informational input, the emotional tag. Therefore, the iNCA formed for one time-frame demonstrates the wide-ranging source of material and only through synchronicity and connectivity are such extensive short-term memory stores possible.

Storage mechanism

Episodic memory forms the basis of all memories and it is often sequential in nature, e.g. autobiographical events. In this case, sensory input consists of successive ´frames`, with ´outside the box` thinking proposing that the sustained activation requirement of long-term storage of these frames and iNCA being to the large extent fulfilled through the sharing of features within the frames. This situation mirrors input consistent with movement. The focus of sensory fields on particular objects/areas (e.g. watching the actions of a main character as the story unfolds) ensures that the sensory firing patterns are maintained sufficiently to fulfill the short term iNCA and long-term storage conditions. Other non-shared features fulfill the sustained activation requirement for long-term storage through internal mechanisms with the amygdala/prefrontal cortex/ hippocampus ´holding` the activation and changing the synchronicity between real-time events and those internally registered. In this way, long-term ´as is` memories are formed of the ´real-time` sensory events.

Sequential episodic memories are probably multi-modal so the sNCA formed from such events are widespread demonstrating physical and hypothetical connectivity. The sNCA1 contains core features and details about the event consistent with perceptual load capacity and chunking. The sNCA2 level provides information about timing and movement and confers order on the successive ´frames`. This hierarchy of storage is ably demonstrated by studies on the visual and auditory long-term memory of amnesiac patients.

An example of sequential episodic memory is spatial memory. If we consider the example of the rat in the radial arm maze, we can see that the learning of the relative location of objects surrounding one step occurs, but at every step the objects in the sensory fields are likely to change. Therefore, the long-term memories of the routes taken require sequential learning of the progress along the arms. Memorable or deciding points along the routes would be recorded in the sNCA as ´cues`.  Most of the incoming information is shared, e.g. every step going down one arm, but some is completely new, e.g. at the centre or a turning point. Therefore, both types of situation would follow the standard long-term memory storage processes for movement or ´holding`. The place-cell structure of the hippocampus (an area commonly associated with spatial memory), proposed by McNaughton et al. (2006) could be demonstrating either topographical organisation as seen with visual information in the cortex  which defines shape and orientation, or it could be demonstrating timing as seen in the cerebellum with motoric sequences. Only further research will ascertain the true function of the place cell attractor map structure.

Two points should be said about spatial memory and sequence learning: the first is that the unusual features (i.e. those not shared by previous frames) are likely to become the ´cues` or reference points that bring about change in direction or are outstanding features learnt to mark the route; secondly, whereas in other circumstances it is better to maintain the sensory fields and minimise change so that sustained activation is achieved through shared features and rehearsal, in the case of spatial memory, movement of the sensory fields is advantageous. If we take the visual field as an example, the more the head is moved the greater the level of external information inputted and the greater the discrimination of the actual location. However, there is a balance: too much head movement then not enough detailed information is learnt to determine present location and that of future steps; too little head movement then there is not enough incoming information to distinguish one location from another.

Recall of episodic memories without processing

´Outside the box` thinking proposes that the root of all types of brain memory are episodic memories. These are representations of the external events experienced by the individual and stored either complete or in parts in the sNCA according to demand. Complete storage represents the autobiographical type events (e.g. story-telling) and parts lead to a number of other memory types such as procedural memory and ´own view of the world` type facts. Since something cannot be recalled if not initially stored (either consciously or subconsciously) then it is possible to recall parts from a completely stored event, but not the other way round. Recall of parts appears to be earlier in personal development than recall of the complete event (e.g. the mother`s face is remembered by a baby far sooner than the layout of the baby`s bedroom), but whether this reflects only language ability has yet to be determined. We have to assume that if the neuronal cell assembly storage theory is correct then the baby can remember whole sensory events if demanded to do so and only technical inadequacies (e.g. the dependency on language in recall experiments) prevent this from being shown. What can be said is that episodic memory based recall involves either full recall of an experienced and learnt event, or it involves parts extracted from external events, with these parts stored and the rest ignored. The huge range of episodic memories available means that some form of selection has to take place not only in the brain memory input and storage stages, but also in the recall process. 

Recall without processing describes those circumstances where recall of past events or parts of events proceeds without exhibiting conflict between the stimulus and stored information - hence the ´start-end` type process. The biochemical mechanism involves the firing of relevant sNCA according to the incoming stimulus or internal cue. An ´electrical image` is formed and there is no conflict between the cells fired by the stimulus and the recalled event represented by the firing cells of the appropriate sNCA. The attentional system and prefrontal cortex continually monitor the situation. The extent of the ´electrical image` depends on initially the ´cue` and then the corresponding sNCA content at the sNCA1 level and links to other sNCA joined during storage (i.e. by generic version or categorisation for example) via the sNCA2 level. Essentially, how things are stored is how they are recalled as shown by research with blind people and Morris, Bransford and Franks (1977) transfer appropriate processing model and recall represents personal experience. It is clear that in some cases a cue, i.e. a set of characteristics, can instigate the recall of hundreds of possible sNCA and hence, hundreds of different memories. In some circumstances this may be advantageous, e.g. brain storming, but in others it may restrict the end result of the recall process being achieved, that of action. Selection of sNCA content for the ´electrical image` therefore, follows the criteria: the content is dictated by the point of entry of the ´cue`; that the strongest firing cells take priority; the activation of the higher cortical areas are favoured because they add complexity to the image in preference to those of the lower cortical areas and more general characteristics; and certain features take natural priority over others, e.g. movement over stationary.

Recall with processing

The biochemical mechanism for recall of ´as is` episodic memories involves incoming information acting as the stimulus for the exact recall of a previous experience. Episodic memories can also be recalled where there is a need for a little extra processing, for example in the case of where one small detail of the ´real-time` event is taken as the focus, instead of the whole object. The scope of the appropriately fired sNCA is then widened, leading to more oblique facts being remembered. This type of recall is important in the search for facts unrelated to the ´real-time` incoming information, as required for example in school-type questions. Since all memories are based on episodic memories, the capability of manipulating the source, quantity and quality of the stimulus, then the more useful the stored brain memory is. 

Recall with further processing - crossing a river

Unlike the decision-making case of choosing a tea or coffee beverage, the scenario of deciding the best way to cross a river when one is alone gives no clear solutions at the start – it is not just a simple case of deciding which cup to take, but involves the use of experience to solve the problem. Imagine standing in front of a river that you have to cross in order to continue on your given journey, then the first stage is defining the goal relevant to the incoming information. In this case, the answer to the question ´Where am I now?` comes from the assimilation of sensory information absorbed from the external environment and relates to the fact that the individual is standing on a river bank surveying a flowing river. The answer to the question ´Where do I want to be?` is elicited from brain memory and from overall behavioural task management and the answer is likely to be ´on the other river bank and continuing with my journey`. Therefore, the overall task of the problem is defined as finding a suitable way to cross the river safely and this forms the purpose NCA by which all solutions are measured.

The realisation that the individual has to do something to get from the initial standpoint to his target is a spur to look around his environment - the input stage. The sight of the river evokes memories relating to rivers or stretches of water (a general point of access for brain memory recall). Some memories are interesting, but irrelevant to the situation, e.g. water reeds moving with the wind on the Fens at sunset, and so the brain memory search is steered towards more relevant information, i.e. the individual looks for things that bring about movement of people across water. Through categorisation, options relating to this topic are activated and ´flashes` of memories appear. Strong activation corresponding to frequent experiences, detailed events or emotionally strong events appear to take priority (Stage 2). In this case, conventional methods of river crossing probably spring to mind first, e.g. using a bridge, boat or swimming, whereas less familiar solutions such as using a raft or stepping stones, although registered, are dismissed at this time since more familiar options are available.

Stage 3 and stage 4 of the decision-making process requires the sNCA of each option to be assessed for suitability as the problem`s solution. A strategy is chosen by which each option will be measured and some of these possible strategies are: aims, goals and objectives or consequence and sequel. Unlike the scenario where a choice between tea and coffee has to be made and the likely strategies are emotionally based, the majority of possible strategies for this problem relate more to factual information. Even with all options being considered, it may be obvious that there is a clear practical solution to the problem, e.g. perhaps a serviceable bridge is located 100 metres away. This option will then be followed and the action of crossing the river to the other side will satisfy the purpose tNCA grouping. An immediate decision can also be made if there are strong feelings against two of the options, e.g. the individual cannot swim or has a fear of boats caused by bad boating experience when small. Not to do this other option requires strong persuasion from outsiders or oneself (inner speech).

However, there may be no clear solution and further processing must be undertaken to elicit a pathway to be followed. In this case, decision-making is likely to be based on ´head` type calculations and each option is then measured for advantage and practicability using recalled memories. Although ´non-active` decision-making techniques are available it is unlikely that the individual will use this type of technique unless he is sure that he is not put into any danger or that the level of danger is equal for all options. With the possibility of drowning, then the need/drive theory puts survival above everything else. Having made a decision, the action is carried out and a review of the outcome in relation to the task undertaken. Hopefully, the process has led to a successful conclusion and the individual now stands on the other river bank and ready to continue on his way.  

The situation would be different if the individual is not alone and needs to cross the river as part of a group. Then, the decision made would reflect the interests of the group as a whole. In this case, the individual´s  emotional and factual responses cannot dictate what decision is made unless he is the autocratic leader of the group or his strength of knowledge gives him standing within the group. Also, more processing strategies are available, since each group member is likely to have ideas. Decision-making may also be less predictable than alone, with emotional values or even non-active options also likely to be considered. 

Therefore, the two decision-making scenarios described give importance to different strategies in assessing the options available. Recall of brain memories obtained from past experiences is initiated and applied, not only relevant to the task, but also more ´esoteric` ones used in stimulating ideas. The end-stage of brain memory recall of both scenarios is the formation of a clear option and action, with outcome (Stage 7) monitoring the success of the process.

 

PROCEDURAL MEMORY

Motor sequences, such as tying shoelaces, are a series of muscular movements and actions learnt through motor repetition with concurrent sensory system involvement. Recall of such sequences appears to require minimal awareness, which makes these types of memories ideal for frequently used replicated actions, thus freeing the brain`s cognitive capability for other things. Motor learning studies have shown that, although sensory information is stored in the cortical areas, procedural memory is stored in the cerebellum. Any dysfunction of this area causes noticeable motor effects (82% of autistic children have under-developed areas in the cerebellum, Courchesne et al. 1988).

Input mechanism

The brain memory mechanism for the learning of motor sequences has the same stages as for sensory information. The first stage, the input, involves the sequence of movements being executed both carefully and under heavy scrutiny. The source of the sequence is external, e.g. an individual learning to tie shoelaces may follow someone`s example or follow verbal instructions. The series of actions is repeated (perhaps over and over again dependent on the task and/or individual) until the whole sequence can be performed without error. The first repetitions are slow and require attention, but as the series is repeated the known actions are quicker and attention to those known parts less. Emotional systems also change during the input and repetition stages. Fear and frustration perhaps at first giving way to relaxation and pleasure as the series of actions is learnt and remembered. When learnt, recall can be automatic with little conscious awareness.

Location of this learning appears to be the cerebellum, which is well-known as playing a role in the control of movement. Input from the somatosensory cortex motor loop, and the brain stem lead to a two-pronged related ´real-time` action in the cerebellum. If we consider a sequence of movements, then this cycle must be occurring for every movement within that sequence. If the sequence is not learnt, then the sensory and motor areas will function as described above and each movement will be carried out unrelated to the one before or after it. However, if the motor sequence needs to be learnt, the individual components of each movement needs to be stored and in order. Just like with visual and auditory information, ´outside the box` thinking suggests that motor sequence learning begins with the formation of short-term memory stores (the iNCA) in the cerebellum probably at the level of the either the Purkinje cell layer at the point of intersection with the parallel fibres, or at the level of the deep cerebellar nuclei. The suggestion of the former is supported by the Marr-Albus theory of motor learning (Marr, 1969) and the studies on firing of climbing fibres and parallel fibres. Just like visual information relating to movement, the iNCAs created represent each specific movement and core features are shared between successive time units, hence there is continual activation of this information. Successive movements are recorded in small changes to the iNCA just like in visual memory records of movement. Only when no features are shared between successive movements will new iNCA be formed representing the core features, and it is then that connectivity between the iNCAs is extremely important. Order is conferred onto the sequences of iNCA in the storage stage.

Storage mechanism

´Outside the box` thinking leads to the conclusion that all brain memory types begin with episodic memories and from these roots each individual develops his own knowledge base about himself and his world. Procedural memory sequences (´know how` memory) are fundamentally ´picked out` from the episodic background and become units in their own right and are essential to the overall functioning of the individual. They are important because procedural memory sequences once learnt can be recalled without further conscious processing, focus or thought, which allows the brain to be ´free` to do other things. The sequence required may not be an exact replica of the initial learning event, e.g. tying shoes laces is the same independent of shoelace size or type of footwear, but the long-term memory stored and real-time processing capability are suitable for the successful recall of the sequence in the absence of focused ´real-time` attention. Only a disruption in the predicted sequence turns attention back towards the task in hand, which implies that although conscious processing is absent, there is some form of monitoring.

Procedural sequences are defined by psychologists as examples of automatic processing. Psychologists found that practice could have a dramatic effect on the performance of some tasks and assumed that some processing activities had become automatic as a result of practice/rehearsal/repetition. The development of such processing was associated with reduced activity in certain brain areas (e.g. bilateral, but predominantly left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, right superior frontal cortex, and right fronto-polar area and the supplementary motor area) normally linked with conscious processing. Imaging studies showed that many brain regions were active in people learning a complex series of steps, but repetition of the learnt sequence required only areas related to the motor or mental capability appropriate for the task to be active. Shiffrin and Schneider (1977) put forward differences between controlled (conscious) and automatic processes such as controlled being of limited capacity with attention paid to the task in comparison to automatic processes, which are difficult to modify once learnt, but are faster to implement. From a brain memory point of view, automatic processes require ´as is` sequential memory that can be learnt and recalled with a minimum conscious involvement. 

Logan (1988) proposed a series of steps (instance theory) to explain how sequential memory forms. He said that the steps in automaticity are:

1)      Separate memory traces are stored away each time a stimulus is presented and processed (the iNCA then sNCA proposed here).

2)      Practice with the same stimulus leads to the storage of increased information about the stimulus and about what to do with it (increased levels of details stored in the sNCA every pass).

3)      This increase in the knowledge base with practice permits rapid retrieval of relevant information when the appropriate stimulus is presented (with more details stored in the sNCA, the better the chance of recognition and other recall).

4)      Automaticity is memory retrieval. Performance is automatic when it is based on a single-step direct-access retrieval of past solutions from memory (sequence memory recall).

5)      In the absence of practice, responding to a stimulus requires thought and the application of rules. After prolonged practice, the appropriate response is stored in memory and can be accessed very rapidly (sequential memory stored in sNCA1 and overlayered with sNCA2).

Logan`s theory is relatively simple, but it does support the reason why automatic processes are important and that is to make a set of processes that have fast retrieval with little conscious thought. A translation of Logan`s steps into a biochemical mechanism leads to the succession of steps required for ´as is` procedural memory formation.

The brain`s memory system is therefore, capable of coping with the speed of change of features (by sustained activation of shared features or synchronicity changes elicited through ´holding`) and the requirement of storing order (by connectivity between successive sNCA via the wall-like overlayering sNCA2) that is essential for the successful storage and recall of sequences. A vital part of sequence learning is prediction (or expectation) and error signalling. Prediction in biochemical terms is no different to that in literal terms and that it defines something expected. In the second and subsequent passes of the sequence learning cycles, incoming iNCA are compared to stored cell assemblies. Prediction (or expectation) relates to the next unit in the sequence from the stored side being activated before the incoming information arrives at its destination. Similarity (or few differences) between the two will maintain the ´status quo` of the process and the dopamine-system will continue to dominate. However, disparity between the two will send up an ´alert` signal (error signal) thus shifting the emotional and attentional states to one of ´fear/danger` by activation of the cingulated cortex, prefrontal cortex and amygdala and conscious processing may be instigated. Ramnani (2006) showed that links between the cortex (particularly the prefrontal cortex) and the cerebellum existed and suggested that the cerebellum also had an important role in processing higher level 'cognitive' information. Speed of learning, success at re-enactment for example are also factors that can cause this adverse change in emotional and attentional states.

Recall without processing

Procedural memory is a learnt sequence of events linked together in a specific order and recalled as a whole event (e.g. learning to ride a bicycle for the first time) or as a part (e.g. how to ride a bicycle). The most discerning features of this type of recall are:

1)      the importance of expectation. Incoming real-time information is monitored closely against the expectation of the next step of the sequence (either actually performed or instigated) as indicated by the sNCA.

2)      automaticity. The removal of the recall from the ´conscious sphere` into the subconscious under the correct conditions means that brain cognitive capacity (perhaps working memory state) is freed to perform other tasks.

3)      is a part of the actual storage process for certain types of memory. Sequences are learnt as a result of frequent rehearsal  and hence, recall is part of the learning process. 

Recall without processing means that re-encounter should instigate the recall of the same (or within ´wobble` parameters) sequence. ´Outside the box` thinking suggests that the recall sequence begins by being ´cued` at certain points, the ´reference points` within the learnt process. These may be induced from external sources (incoming information as stimulus) or internal (cued from the sNCA itself) and firing of the appropriate sNCA then occurs, with details being observed at the sNCA1 level. An ´electrical image` will result just like with other memory types. Linking to the next event in the sequence occurs by firing of the overlaying sNCA2 level. This results in firing of the next sNCA or expectation of incoming information will occur. Since this section deals with recall without processing, then the sequence is followed in all essential details just like the previous event, i.e. no conflict is observed.

The sNCA and actual input provides a huge amount of information, achieved by ´chunking` of details in units. Therefore, it is possible that certain features will be considered important on recall and not capable of adaptation and others less important. A certain amount of ´wobble` in these firing cells will be deemed acceptable in the recall process and therefore, recall will proceed without conflict. Shanks et al. (2006) found that in induced amnesia sufferers that target sequences were learnt normally, but expression of the sequence knowledge (priming) was attentuated when contextual support was limited. This study shows that sequence sNCA is likely to be multi-modal and more than just records of motor movements. Therefore, the recall process of motor sequences without further processing is fast and mainly automatic and proceeds according to ´start-end` rules as dictated by this type of recall.

Since the storage of motor sequences takes place in the cerebellum in comparison to other information in the cortical areas, the difference in location allows for the automaticity and reduced conscious input and has been proven by, for example, studies on sufferers of Korsakoff`s syndrome, who show intact motor skills although episodic memory and other memory types appear to be difficult. The structure of the cerebellum is ideal for storage of timed, linked events where many features are shared and, therefore, is also ideally structured for the recall process. ´Outside the box` thinking suggests that an ´electrical image` is likely to be formed at the site of sNCA storage at the level of the either the Purkinje cell layer at the point of intersection with the parallel fibres (Marr-Albus theory, Marr 1969), or at the level of the deep cerebellar nuclei (Apps and Garwicz microcomplexes, 2005) and timing is brought about by the linking of the complexes through climbing fibre and parallel fibres as shown by the Marr-Albus model (Marr, 1969).

Since the recall without processing for sequences proceeds fully automatically as dictated by Norman and Shallice (1986) with no conflict between the incoming information and the stored information of the sNCA independent of stimulus/cue location or source, then the attentional system plays a simple monitoring role. It compares the incoming information to the fired sNCA and as already said the number of activated cells is sufficient or of a quality within the ´wobble` range of the sNCA that no conflict is registered. There is no need to monitor the sensory focus (oblivious to surroundings whilst remembering sequence) since the sequence is learnt and can be carried out without conscious awareness. Nor is it necessary to monitor timing since the sequence has an inbuilt order through the sNCA level 2 links. Therefore, motor sequences are usually carried out with normal, or normal focused levels of attention. However, it is also possible to perform them when the individual is in the fear attentional state (i.e. driving a car away from an accident). ´Outside the box` thinking suggests that in this state, focus on the sequence performance maybe heightened, i.e. there is a shift to conscious action, or there is more awareness of the external environment through the incoming sensory information not relevant to the motor actions themselves, which will continue to proceed automatically. This corresponds to the changing perceptual load capacity in the fear attentional state instigated by the amygdala activity.

Just like in the storage stage, emotional state reflects attentional state. ´Outside the box` thinking suggests that as the sequence is learnt, the individual is relaxed with dominance of the dopamine-based neurotransmitter system and reduced thalamic activity brought about by the prefrontal cortex action on the basal ganglia. The same state exists in successful recall, both during it and at the end. Forgetting a stage, incorrect action or distraction can shift the emotional state from one of relaxation and pleasure to one of fear (activation of the noradrenaline-based brain system, with consequential changes in attentional state as well. This causes a change in circumstances to recall with processing. As with all memories, an emotional tag is attached to the information. However, the conclusion of ´outside the box` thinking is that a learnt sequence is unlikely to have a negative emotional tag associated with it unless the circumstances of learning were unpleasant or the performance of the sequence itself brings pain or discomfort. Therefore, most sequences are associated with positive tags and recall is linked with a dominating dopamine-based emotional system. Those memories associated with a negative tag also are disadvantaged on recall since recollection shifts the emotional system to the fear state and recall will be worse since then the level of conscious awareness of the process is heightened, automaticity is lost and widened sNCA activation will bring back memories not normally relevant to the sequence recall on its own (distraction).

Therefore, recall without processing of motor sequencing in the absence of conflict between incoming and stored information, occurs under conditions of normal or normal focused attentional states and the corresponding positive dopamine-based emotional system. A shift of either attentional, or emotional state will cause the loss of automaticity and the introduction of processing into the recall proceedings.

Recall with processing

Procedural memory based recall normally proceeds without extra processing being needed. The whole concept of procedural memory and automatic processing allows such recall to occur without conscious intervention so that the brain`s cognitive capability is free to attend to other matters. The process relies on matching sequential incoming information to stored information and this is overlaid with a level of prediction or expectation as to the next step. Conflict between what is expected and what is actually happening leads to a shift in the recall  mechanism to one where processing is necessary with accompanying shifts in attentional and emotional systems status in order to resolve the conflict. The conflict observed in the biochemical mechanism is equivalent to the psychologists` action slips, which involve the performance of actions that were not intended. Errors can occur anywhere within the sequence. These errors occur biochemically by for example, incorrect connectivity or synchronisation of appropriate sNCA. This will lead to a number of different failures in the motor sequence, such as wrong order or gaps. The difference between the incoming and stored predicted sequence leads to a shift in attentional and emotional states and the system responds to its heightened status and changes occur in attention and control to try to minimise or eradicate the errors. Studies show that recognition of mistakes is said to be the responsibility of the anterior cingulated cortex, particularly the spindle cells, which fires when mistakes are made (Brown, 1999). It was suggested that the area behaves as a ´neural cry for attention`, which supports the hypothesis suggested here for its role in attention and particularly heightened attentional state. Therefore, errors in sequences observed when the incoming information does not match the predicted information, shifts the recall mechanism to one with extra processing. The working memory state reflects the conflict between the two contesting forces. The application of this state is not unusual for motor sequences, since it is a normal part of the learning process. 

 

CONDITIONING

Conditioning is a special case of action and response behavioural pattern that can be described at its simplest as an example of ´as is` sequence learning. In brain memory terms, it is a type of memory that involves incoming information instigating a response learnt by repetition and hence, indicating long-term memory learning and recall similar to that seen with the learning and recall of motor sequences.

Input and storage

In the case of classical conditioning, the first stage of learning is the association of an unconditional stimulus (US) to an unconditional response (UCR), such as a reflex action. In the second stage, the unconditional stimulus is then linked with a conditional stimulus (CS) and this too leads to the unconditioned response. The last stage is where presentation of the conditioned stimulus alone will lead to the response (now known as the conditioned response, CR).

If we consider a classic example of giving a dog food then we can see why conditioning is categorised as sequence learning.  In this case, food is the unconditioned stimulus and its presence causes the dog to salivate (first stage) in preparation for eating. The sight, sound, smell of the food stimulates the sensory organs, rekindles the memory and the appropriate response is made - salivation (UCR), and probably movement to the food, eating and so on. Biochemically, the first stage involves the formation of the long-term sNCA. At first, only iNCA are formed from the incoming sensory information and response, since the episode is mundane (eating food). It may be recorded in the episodic type long-term memory if the situation is deemed worthy enough by the dog. Repetition of the event will, however, lead to consolidation of the initial trace. At this stage the emotional state is fairly relaxed since a reward is involved and the attentional state probably flits between focused attention and normal attention. In this case, the reward is given on every occasion, but there are other schedules of reinforcement, e.g. partial. The reward is associated with activation of the dopamine-based emotional system as expected and this has been demonstrated by work by Kringelbach (2005) on the role of the orbitofrontal cortex linking hedonistic experiences to reward and Williams, Dang and Kanwischer (2007), who showed that caudate activity was closely correlated to the rate of learning and peaked when new associations were acquired in associative learning tasks with reinforcement.

In the second stage the dog hears a bell every time he is given food. Therefore, the temporary iNCA formed link sensory information together not only of the food, but also the auditory characteristics of the bell ringing. Salivation and eating is again the response (UCR).

Biochemically, repetition of the process leads to long-term sNCA being formed ´as is` just like in sequence learning with core features and details stored in the sNCA1 and the timing in sNCA2. Shared features between consecutive time units lead to sustained activation conditions being met similar to that described for movement (e.g. the dog continually eyes the food on offer so core sensory features are stored). Storage of other features in the sequence occurs with the activation sustained through ´holding` as described for fear memories and motor sequences. This is likely to include the sound of the bell. Repetition again means that any temporary iNCA are converted and connections are strengthened between existing sNCA neurons. LeDoux (1995) proposed that the amygdala is the location where the link between the UCS and CS is formed. However, this is likely to be in the case of fear memories, where activation of the amygdala and the noradrenaline-based emotional system occurs with corresponding fear attentional state activity playing a role. More likely is that the storage memories span all areas of the cortex as in the case of other informational memories. What can be said is that repetition of the entire process strengthens the connections on every pass and this reactivation and reconsolidation requires protein synthesis (Nader and LeDoux see McCrone, 2003 and Doyère et al. 2007). Attentional and emotional systems are as the first stage.

As the sequence of events is learnt, just like in learning of the motoric sequences there is a certain level of expectation (prediction) in every pass, e.g. bell and food. Monitoring must occur to see whether each pass occurs as remembered. This monitoring is probably the work of the attentional system, which exists in either the normal, or focused state unless problems or unexpected events occur. The system is then pushed from the normal storage process into one requiring a focused or fear attentional system. Evidence for this came from Kennerley et al. (2006), who proposed that the anterior cingulated cortex (ACC) plays a role in guiding voluntary choices based on the history of previous actions and outcomes. Lesions of this area did not impair the performance of monkeys immediately after errors but made them unable to sustain rewarded responses in a reinforcement-guided choice task and to integrate risk and payoff in a dynamic foraging task. This data suggested that the ACC area is essential for learning the value of actions, and is supported by its role in the attentional and emotional systems. While the sequence progresses as expected, the emotional system remains in a ´happy/pleasurable` state in this example. However, if the predicted course of events does not happen, then the attentional and emotional states shift into an ´alert/danger` state by the action of the monitoring prefrontal cortex, cingulated cortex and amygdala.

Once the sequence is established through repetition the final stage of conditioning means that the presentation of the bell alone also leads to the response, salivation. The salivation response is instigated by the firing of the complete sNCA for the ´real-time` event and its subsequent recorded response in the sequence. This is just like the processes for motor sequences and all cases of classical conditioning follow this process of memory storage and recall. The attentional system is probably aware of the changed conditions, but since the reward is still on offer, responses linked to unexpected reward are not instigated.

Operant conditioning is similar to classical conditioning in terms of the brain memory process. The individual learns to associate a certain event or behaviour with a particular consequence (a level of expectation is required here and the ´emotional tag` plays a role – successful association of stimulus to response would bring pleasure or pain). Sequential sNCAs are formed linking stimulus to behaviour to consequences, either reward or punishment.

Recall without processing

Recall of the entire conditioning sequence in response to the ´cue` is a part of the storage process, just like in the case of motor sequences. It involves the linking of incoming information to the activation of sNCA1 and sNCA2 representing the previous events just like for other sequences. The sNCA available are wide ranging including information from multiple sensory focal points and are possibly even multi-modal. Both core and ´wobble` features are likely to have been recorded and therefore, the activation of the sNCA in response to the stimulus leads to a wide ´electrical image`. Recall without processing means that no conflict occurs between the two sources of activation, which indicates that the incoming information is either exactly like (or within acceptable limits) the original event. Fear conditioning experiments show that the conditions of the sNCA reactivation are the same as for other events. For example, there is LTP (Shaban et al. 2006) and that protein synthesis is required (Nader and Hardt, 2009, Doyere et al. 2007).

Linking through the sNCA2 leads to the firing of the next sNCA of the sequence and hence the response learnt during storage process is re-enacted. This sNCA stores sensory information and motor movements if applicable. Once carried out, then a response (the ´reward`) to that action is awaited and this involves more focused attention, because the learning process has stored in the sNCA exact information as to its source and character. The incoming sensory information then corresponds to the external environment in expectation or in the process of receiving the reward and the firing of the sensory stores and iNCA is matched against the expected reward in the sNCA, which has been internally fired due to the linking between the corresponding sNCA of the sequence. Just like in the recognition of the stimulus, the success of the reward recognition stage relies on detail (e.g. extent of focus through storage of core features of the ´reward`) and connectivity in the sNCA itself (e.g. multi-modal information binding different brain areas, although dominance probably of visual information). Recall without processing means that the ´real-time` reward is exactly like the expected reward experienced on previous occasions and so the conditioning sequence has been successfully concluded.

´Outside the box` thinking suggests that during the recall sequence, the dominating attentional states are normal or normal focused unless a case of fear conditioning is being considered.  Under normal circumstances, the process may begin with the normal attentional state, but a switch to the normal focused state may ensue as the sequence progresses. This switch is due to the recognition of the stimulus as a cue for the conditioning sequence and then to the level of information required for the successful completion of each stage of the sequence. Alternatively, if the conditioning sequence is an automatic response then the attentional state may remain more normal, since there is little conscious awareness required for the sequence to proceed. In all cases in recall without processing, the conditioning sequence begins and continues until the end without conflict between the ´real-time` events and the expected or predicted events. Conflict is defined, therefore in this case, as any part of the ´real-time` sequence not occurring as expected (action slips), e.g. absence of reward or lack of personal capability to respond, and any change will shift the attentional system to a fear state and shift the memory system to recall with processing. Independent of actual state, the attentional system in ´real-time` monitors the following variables:

1) matching incoming information to stored. This occurs at several stages in the conditioning sequence, for example: at the beginning the incoming stimulus information and the activation of appropriate sNCA for recognition of situation is checked; in the middle, the incoming information representing the response (reward) is checked to see if it matches predicted information stored in the sNCA; and at the end checking is carried out to see if the response action has been performed. Evidence for this came from Kennerley et al. (2006), who proposed that the anterior cingulated cortex (ACC) played a role in guiding voluntary choices based on the history of actions and outcomes. Lesions of this area did not impair the performance of monkeys immediately after errors, but made them unable to sustain rewarded responses in a reinforcement-guided choice task and to integrate risk and payoff in a dynamic foraging task. This data suggested that the ACC was essential for learning the value of actions.

2) maintaining focus on relevant sensory information from the external environment. Different stages of the conditioning sequence have differing levels of focus. In the first stage of matching incoming information to stored information, then the focus is less important, wider or consists of changing sensory field information. Other stages are more focused on relevant material, since this maximises information to the task in hand.

3) monitoring time constraint on various parts of sequence. Conditioning sequences have an inbuilt order and have indirectly, inbuilt timing if not actually consciously recognised. Individual responses to incoming stimulus occur immediately and the individual knows the length of time between the action and the expected reward response. Reward that follows within acceptable time limits promote further the ´no conflict` reaction, but any differences can shift the attentional system to the ´fear` state with corresponding changes to the recall process, i.e. recall with processing.  

The emotional state, just like other examples in this category of recall, follows the attentional state. In circumstances of no conflict between the ´real-time` event and the previously learnt experiences and absence of processing there is a dominance of the dopamine-based emotional state during execution of the sequence. Schedules of reinforcement (presentation of the reward) can bring about unexpected ends to the sequence, but in the case of recall without processing, reward is presented as predicted and this is linked to prefrontal cortical activation and other dopamine-based systems areas. Research supports this with studies showing that the orbitofrontal cortex area plays a role in linking hedonistic experiences to reward in conditioning experiments (Kringelbach, 2005) and that caudate activity closely correlated to the rate of learning and peaked when new associations were acquired in associative learning tasks with reinforcement (Williams, 2006). The emotional state is constantly under ´threat` of change during the proceedings as multiple factors determine the success of the conditioning sequencing, e.g. distraction, non-conformist reward.

In fear conditioning situations, the attentional system and emotional system exist in the fear states. Fear conditioning is a well used and documented research technique, e.g. fear aversion, but is normally carried out on non-human species. Therefore, there could be debate on how accurate and applicable the results are to the overall human cognitive hypotheses bearing in mind that people can exhibit illogical emotional behaviour in times of stress, e.g. stubbornness, anger or compliance. The fear attentional system, emotional system and the changes in cognitive performance and brain memory system attributed to them are switched on at the point of pain in conditions where the stimulus, action or reward are painful and at beginning of the experiment itself when the action removes the pain. In recall of the conditioning sequence under the former set of conditions, a shift to the fear state occurs when the situation is recognised as being dangerous, i.e. at the point of sNCA activation and emotional tag activation representing the previous experiences. This initiates the fear response and changes the activity of the amygdala as observed by LeDoux (1995), Moriceau and Sullivan (2006) and Akirav (2007). LTP demonstrated in this area in conditioning experiments has been attributed to NMDA receptor involvement (Shaban et al, 2006 and Mamou, Gamache and Nader, 2006) or AMPA receptors (Ehninger, Matynia and Silva, 2005), an observation disputed by others. Evidence for prefrontal cortex involvement also came from work on 5-HT: tryptophan depletion increased negative reward prediction (Cools, Robinson and Sahakian, 2008).

Therefore, the attentional and emotional systems are active during the entire conditioning sequence and monitoring will ensure that any change to the expected sequence will result in corresponding changes in state and cognitive processes so that the task can be concluded successfully.  In recall without processing, the lack of conflict means that the sequence is recalled from beginning to end exactly as previously recorded and will promote the necessary attentional and emotional states during its execution.

Recall with processing

Conditioning, just like the case of procedural memory, consists of a known sequence of actions and reactions, which are learnt and stored in a sequential series of sNCA. Recall of such a sequence follows the events in the external environment and are predicted and monitored at every stage in the same way they are learnt. Normally, there is no conflict between these contesting forces, but sometimes errors or unexpected events, e.g. change or lack of reward or different stimulus, can occur that result in conflict being observed between the incoming information and the firing sNCA. In the case of recall with processing, these alterations are investigated for similarity to the known sequence to see whether they are to be accepted, or whether the situation is so radically different to the learnt one that the conditioning process is halted. The process of investigation follows that of recall with processing where novel features of the event are used as stimuli for the sequence. The situation is investigated until the ´magic answer` or ´accepted magic answer` is found.

The presence of conflict between the contesting input and predicted firing sequences leads, just like in other cases, to the attentional system shifting to a heightened state with corresponding changes in activity of the prefrontal cortex, cingulated cortex and amygdala. Fear conditioning automatically shows heightened amygdala activity due to the attached emotional response. In the case of recall with processing, it is assumed that the differences from the expected conditioning sequence is within the realms of ´wobble` and the ´accepted` answer as the performance of the sequence continues until its logical end. This may not always be the case with the conflict situation presenting information that it is totally novel and requiring more than activation of past experiences to resolve it. In this case, conscious awareness and control are instigated and the process shifts higher to one with even more processing, recall with further processing.

Recall with further processing - fear extinction

Although the title of this section is ´fear extinction`, the mechanism here can be attributed to any conditioning circumstance where the sequence of events does not conform to expectations. The mechanism leading to fear extinction follows a number of stages, which are common to other situations involving conflict between incoming information and stored memories of the same or similar events. The stages involved in extinction are:

1) Incoming information - Incoming information relating to the environment or actions stimulates firing of stored brain memories. Fear conditioning leads to fear emotional tag re-enactment. The attentional state begins as normal or heightened (fear conditioning), and the emotional state is relaxed as incoming information is recognised as part of a conditioning sequence seen before. ´Fear` is shown if fear conditioning is involved.

2) Action -Action is carried out according to the brain memory sequence stored in the sNCA from the previous repeated encounters. The attentional and emotional systems remain normal/normal focused as the sequence is followed. Fear conditioning is accompanied by the expected fear response evoked by the sNCA.

3) Conflict registration - Incoming information is not as expected producing ´conflict` signals between the sNCA sequence information and the ´real-time`input. An unexpected reward sees increased amygdala transmission from perirhinal to enterorhinal neurons (Paz et al. 2006). The attentional state is heightened or remains heightened due to the conflict signal. This is mirrored by the continued or shift of emotional state to ´fear` state. Removal of pain in the fear extinction circumstance may lead to slight relaxation due to absence of pain stimulus, but the fear response is still there because of the conflict signal. 

4) Further processing initiated - Conscious processing of situation occurs. The purpose is assessed - ´where now` and ´where want to be` (expected end of stored sequence). The point of access used is an aspect of the ´real-time` environment. Possible reframing can occur to see if a new sequence can be started. The heightened attentional state leads to an increased level of relevant task information, monitoring of conflict and ´timing function`. The physiological state mirrors the heightened attentional and emotional states, although in the case of fear conditioning, substitution or minimisation of the pain response still does not warrant reduction of the fear state. 

5) Alternative action - This stage corresponds to processing the result. There may be an answer or accepted answer as a result of brain memory recall of similar circumstances. Decision-making may occur if there is more than one option and Kennerley et al. (2006) found that the anterior cingulated cortex plays a role in guiding voluntary choices based on the history of actions and outcomes. The attentional and emotional systems reflect a processing roller coaster. There is relief at the action being carried out even though it may be accepted as not being ideal. Williams (2006) found that caudate activity closely correlated to the rate of learning and peaked when new associations are acquired in associative learning tasks with reinforcement. This suggested the involvement of the dopamine-based emotional system as the action is taken.

6) Adjusted memory storage – Alteration to the conditioning sequence stored within the sNCA for event occurs. The memory is stored as a variable memory with incoming information and action as ´core` features and varying responses as variable features. The corresponding emotional tag changes to reflect the new situation.          

 On repetition of the event, the appropriate sNCAs are fired according to the incoming information. The action carried out reflects the original brain memory trace and the response assessed with the expected information adjusted for the inclusion of doubt. It is compared to the incoming information and an assessment of probability and frequency of the ´new event` occurring is made. Appropriate action is carried out that reflects the stored brain memory of the original event or adjusted event. The event is then repeated until the probability of the ´new event` arising is nearly 100%. Then it can be said that extinction of the original memory end-stage has occurred and the sNCA reflects the new sequence, although the original result if still stored, albeit weaker, as a reminder.

 

SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL

Sequence learning steps

 

STAGES

DETAILS

A) FIRST PASS

 

Shown, read instructions or told what to do stage by stage. Perform movements in order.

 

Visual input translated into physical actions as shoelaces placed in the exact positions as instructed and muscles co-ordinated to achieve correct results. Sensory input follows actions (e.g. visual processing for action). 

Firing of sensory pathways from sensory fields to relevant brain areas, and other pathways reporting position, activity etc of limbs, muscle movements etc. Input NCA formed of temporary input information. Properties of iNCA dictate what is stored more long-term from this first pass, i.e. if many features of the iNCA of successive time units are shared (core) then sustained activation will occur of those particular features and sNCA are formed (just like movement). Feedback will occur and connectivity between successive sNCA takes place (level 2). Input NCA with few shared features to successive iNCA are likely in this initial pass to remain for as long as depolarisation occurs and then decay because the speed of change will be too quick for sustained activation to take place. Amount stored at any one time is dictated by chunking and perceptual load capacity.

 

First pass - attention paid to task in hand (focused attention, perhaps to the exclusion of irrelevant information).

  Emotional system – relatively relaxed.
Language input from others (listening to instructions) and perhaps audible language or inner speech from individual.  Language added to iNCA and sNCA if possible. 
B) SECOND PASS  
Again – set of movements repeated (shown, read, told) and individual performs same movements.

 

Just like first pass, incoming sensory information and movement information.

Second pass - change in brain activity. Incoming sensory information competes with information stored from first pass sNCA (explained in more detail in recall). Assume same process: reinforcement of cell firing and connections (essentially forms a secure knowledge base of perhaps one or two movements). Addition of details occurs to these sNCA. These are either additional features or a subsequent link to a new iNCA i.e. one with few shared features. In this case, sustained activation is achieved by the ´holding` of the firing by the change in synchrony orchestrated by the hippocampus (like in fear, 5.3). Therefore, an order is established and successive sNCA are connected together. . 
  Second pass – attention still focused. (Fear attentional state may arise when acknowledgement of the differences between successive actions occurs.)
  Emotional system still relatively relaxed. (Fear may arise when the acknowledgement of the differences between successive actions occurs.)
Language input re-enforces what is known and brings to attention what is new.  
C) SUBSEQUENT PASSES  
Movements repeated and repeated until entire sequence learnt and can be ably re-enacted by individual without outside help.

 

Incoming sensory and motion information.

Subsequent passes build on what is already known. The mechanism, so long as attentional and emotional systems are relaxed follows that above with sustained activation occurring through re-activation of stored sNCA and competing iNCA. Each pass adds more detail to the sNCA of each time unit and re-enforces the connectivity and synchronicity between successive sNCA. ´Holding` of firing still occurs when required until finally all the incoming information is mirrored by the fired sNCA.
  Subsequent passes – in cases of a successful outcome (i.e. sequence learnt) attention is still focused with fear attentional state sometimes surfacing.
  Subsequent passes – emotional state in cases of successful outcome becomes progressively more relaxed as sequence is learnt. Failure or frustration will quickly shift the individual to a fear state.
Language input and audible language or inner speech from the individual will re-enforce the learning.  

 

                                                                                                       Return to main text.

Errors in recall with processing

 

TYPES OF ERRORS DETAILS
Order different on repeat Promotes frustration, annoyance, panic.
End not achieved Anger. Frustration.
Change factor in the middle. Extra processing, concentration required. Satisfactory as long as sequence continued. Example different shoelaces, must notice difference and adapt. Sequence order remains same.
Begin sequence on repeat half way through. Recall of sequence from beginning. Can ´hop` in anywhere in sequence. Use ´cues`. Some find difficult to ´hop` in being better from beginning. Linked when physical.
Required to go backwards. Runs only forwards. To go backwards, ´cue` given and then run forward again.  Implies sequence is unidirectional like ´fight or flight` etc. and could be chain-event like reactions.
Stop sequence. Can stop sequence. Deliberate, sometimes difficult, e.g. tying shoelaces, memory of painful event. Distraction often used. Conscious decision to return to sequence.
Gaps, mistakes or differences in sequence on repeat. Recognition of gaps, mistakes or differences in sequences.  Brain fills in missing pieces. Instantaneously knows when mistake is made. Sequence can be corrected if necessary, sometimes difficult. Change in sequence not welcomed.

No room for manoeuvre - ´right or wrong`. Implies that incoming sensory information supports firing sequence already put in place.

                                                                                       Return to main text.

 

Fear memory formation

BRAIN MEMORY UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES BRAIN MEMORY UNDER PAIN OR FEAR CIRCUMSTANCES
   
Specific features learnt or subconscious learning of features (as recalled through hypnosis etc.). Specific and non-specific features learnt. More general learning - remember everything, but not all conscious (i.e.hypnosis, specific questioning required for recall). Appears sensory input heightened.
Focussed learning possible. More general learning, superficial.
Repetition/rehearsal required for learning unless different to what is already known then requires focus. No repetition required (time appears to slow).
Sequences of movements can be learnt. No sequences of movements learnt.
Different levels of remembering – non-specific easily forgotten (not even remembered), learnt memories less easily forgotten. Superficial irrelevant details easily forgotten, but emotional, important details etched in memory (rehearsal through frequent repetition possible for life events).
With or without words. With or without words, but events linked to ´self` with words.
Possible when tired, but requires effort. No longer tired whilst event occurs
Easily distracted during memory process. Concentration level dependent on event. Not easily distracted – more focused on the present. Concentration alert.
Memory processing under normal circumstances in all forms. Memory processing under pain or fear conditions mainly related to removing individual from pain/fear situation.
Problem solving deliberate. Willing to explore, try different methods etc. Problem solving linked to event in hand. Only tried and tested methods used

 

 

                                                                                           Return to main text.