Complementary Learning Systems within the Hippocampus: Reconciling Episodic Memory with Statistical Learning

Complementary Learning Systems within the Hippocampus: Reconciling Episodic Memory with Statistical Learning

As humans, we have a natural ability to remember the specifics of individual experiences (e.g. where I parked my car today) and rapidly learn rules across those experiences (e.g. where in the parking lot spaces tend to be open). The Complementary Learning Systems (CLS)  [1] theory offers a computational framework for how we are able to accomplish, both seemingly disparate tasks, by positing that the brain uses different brain circuits to solve these two different problems, specifically the cortex and the hippocampus.

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Cuttlefish camouflage reveals how they see the world

Cuttlefish camouflage reveals how they see the world

Humans are r--lly g--d at filling in th- bl-nks... but can cuttlefish do the same? It’s very common for objects to be partially hidden from view, but we perceive them clearly even when only bits and pieces are actually visible. If a rock is partially covered in sand, it’s easy for us to see that the different bits poking out all belong to a single bigger rock. In perception research, this is called ‘filling-in’. Scientists have shown that other animals can do this too - including rodents, birds, fish and even bees! A study by Zylinski et al asked whether cuttlefish could.

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A Series of Incremental Steps

A Series of Incremental Steps

When I first got to graduate school, I spent most of each day in one building on campus. Each morning I left my apartment, got on my bike, and followed the same route to the building. At the end of the day it was back onto my bike and down the route home. If a seminar was in an unfamiliar building, I left plenty of time to find my way there, orienting myself with familiar landmarks, like the main quad in the center, or the particularly tall tower to the east.

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Healing hairs that help us hear

Healing hairs that help us hear

Hearing and balance disorders are both permanent, irreversible conditions in humans. In fact, hearing loss is the most common sensory disorder around the world. Normally, sound vibrations are transmitted from an object through the air to your ear. Vibrations of the ear drum cause bones in your middle ear to vibrate. These vibrations then pass into the most inner component of your ear to the hearing organ (cochlea). The most common problem underlying hearing loss and deafness is the irreversible loss of sensory hair cells of the cochlea, the molecular basis of which is poorly understood.

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Fait Non Accompli: Social Structures Influence Studies of Sex Differences

Fait Non Accompli: Social Structures Influence Studies of Sex Differences

A reader asks: Can you explain what the correlation is between our brains, sexual orientation and gender?

Researchers have been trying to solve this problem for decades and encounter countless scientific challenges. In this post, Whitney Heavner summarizes findings from a field exploring whether there is something fundamentally different between the structure and organization of male and female brains.

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