Open Questions: Learning and Memory

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Introduction

Synaptic plasticity

Long-term potentiation


Recommended references: Web sites

Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

Recommended references: Books

Introduction



Recommended references: Web sites

Site indexes

Galaxy: Memory
Categorized site directory. Entries usually include descriptive annotations.


Sites with general resources

University of Michigan Cognition and Aging Laboratory
A research facility directed by Denise Park, dealing with basic behavioral cognitive processes, cognitive neuroscience, culture and cognition, cognitive aging and medicine, and social cognition.


Surveys, overviews, tutorials

Memory
Detailed encyclopedia article on memory from the philosophical point of view, with many bibliographic citations and a few external links.
Glutamate Receptors - Structures and Functions
Somewhat technical overview of receptors for L-glutamate, the major excitatory neurotransmitter in central nervous system.
Neural Basis of Spatial Memory
Good semi-technical overview.
Researchers unravel brain's wiring to understand memory
September 2009 article about new techniques neuroscientists are using to study memory.
Memory Special
June 2006 collection of articles at the ABC Science site. News and tutorial articles are included.
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
A ScienceWeek "symposium" consisting of excerpts and summaries of articles from various sources.
Human Memory: What It Is and How to Improve It
Overviews and external links provided by Silvia Helena Cardoso.
In Search of Memory
Based on a 1999 documentary broadcast by Canada's CBC. TV-level presentation of information on memory, with some external links.
Brain Plasticity: What Is It?
A page from the site called Neuroscience for Kids. Discusses relation of brain plasticity to learning and memory and provides useful references and external links.
Human Memory
Very brief overview by Harish Kotbagi.
Sleepers yeld memorable brain images
July 2000 news article from Science News, about memory consolidation during sleep.
While You Were Sleeping
April 2001 ScienceNOW news article about a demonstration that brain circuitry is modified during sleep.
To Sleep, Perchance to Remember
July 2000 ScienceNOW news article about a study that suggests people replay the day's events and solidify memories while sleeping.
Cabbies' Brains Shaped by Driving
March 2000 ScienceNOW news article about the unusual development of the hippocampus of London cab drivers.
The Aging Mind
An article by Denise Park on changes that occur in aging with respect to memory and other cognitive functions.
Does Eating Fewer Calories Improve the Brain?
March 2009 Scientific American article, subtitled "A new study reports that reducing calories may improve memory in older adults."
Erasing Memories
November 2005 Scientific American sidebar, subtitled "Long-term memories, particularly bad ones, could be dissolved if certain drugs are administered at just the right moment during recall."
Strangely Familiar
March 2005 Scientific American sidebar, subtitled "Researchers are starting to pin down what déjà vu is and why it arises. But have you read this already? Maybe you just can't remember."
Stressed-Out Memories
November 2004 Scientific American sidebar by Robert M. Sapolsky, subtitled "A little stress sharpens memory. But after prolonged stress, the mental picture isn't pretty."
Unmaking Memories: Interview with James McGaugh
December 2003 Scientific American In Focus article, subtitled "In the sci-fi thriller Paycheck, an engineer has his memory erased after completing a sensitive job. Scientific American.com spoke with a leading neurobiologist to find out just how close scientists are to controlling recall."
Glia Cells Help Neurons Build Synapses
January 2001 Scientific American news article about how astrocytes control the number of synapses neurons can form with each other.
Tetris Dreams
October 2000 Scientific American In Focus article, subtitled "How and when people see pieces from the computer game in their sleep tells of the role dreaming plays in learning."
Where Memories Are Made
September 26, 2000 news article from Scientific American, on research that studied brain activation during recall.
Down Memory Limbo
August 2000 Scientific American In Focus article, subtitled "New research shows that between fear and recall lies a no-man's-land where long-term memories can vanish."
Making Smart Mice
September 1999 article from Scientific American Explorations on work of Joe Tsien to improve memory in mice by genetic manipulation.
Sleepers yield memorable brain images
July 2000 article in Science News, about evidence from PET scans that memory traces of recently learned visual and spatial skills are fortified during REM sleep.
Certain memories may rest on a good sleep
December 2000 news article in Science News, about how sleep facilitates learning activities that depend on automatic execution.
Sleep is vital to effective learning
November 2000 news article in The Scientist. "A recent study suggests that a good night's sleep within 30 hours of trying to remember a new task is directly linked to effective long-term recall."


Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

Making Nuanced Memories
Laura Beil
Science News, January 29, 2011
New nerve cells help the brain tell similar experiences apart.
Manipulating Memory
Joseph Ledoux
The Scientist, March 2009
Thanks for the future memories
Susan Gaidos
Science News, June 21, 2008
To the brain, remembering the past and visualizing the future look surprisingly similar.
The Memory Code
Joe Z. Tsien
Scientific American, July 2007
Researchers are closing in on the rules that the brain uses to lay down memories. Discovery of this memory code could lead to the design of smarter computers and robots and even to new ways to peer into the human mind.
Brain Gain
Brian Vastag
Science News, June 16, 2007
Constant sprouting of neurons attracts scientists, drugmakers.
Inside the Mind of a Savant
Darold A. Treffert; Daniel D. Christensen
Scientific American, December 2005
Making Memories Stick
R. Douglas Fields
Scientific American, February 2005
Building a Branier Mouse
Joe Z. Tsien
Scientific American, April 2000, pp. 62-68
Genetic engineering experiments on mice have succeeded in producing "smarter" mice. The effect is achieved by altering the operation of synaptic NMDA receptors, implying the role that such receptors play in memory formation.


Recommended references: Books

A. R. Luria - The Mind of a Mnemonist: A Little Book about a Vast Memory
Basic Books, 1968
Classic case study of a man with an exceptionally retentive memory. Luria studied the subject, identified only as "S.", for 30 years. Many particulars of the remarkable memory are described, along with the disadvantages, but ultimately the explanation of the subject's ability remains elusive.
[Annotations]

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Copyright © 2002 by Charles Daney, All Rights Reserved