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When shared concept cells support associations: Theory of overlapping memory engrams

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posted on 2022-05-19, 10:43 authored by C. Gastaldi, T. Schwalger, E. de Falco, R.Q. Quiroga, W. Gerstner

Assemblies of neurons, called concepts cells, encode acquired concepts in human Medial Temporal Lobe. Those concept cells that are shared between two assemblies have been hypothesized to encode associations between concepts. Here we test this hypothesis in a computational model of attractor neural networks. We find that for concepts encoded in sparse neural assemblies there is a minimal fraction cmin of neurons shared between assemblies below which associations cannot be reliably implemented; and a maximal fraction cmax of shared neurons above which single concepts can no longer be retrieved. In the presence of a periodically modulated background signal, such as hippocampal oscillations, recall takes the form of association chains reminiscent of those postulated by theories of free recall of words. Predictions of an iterative overlap-generating model match experimental data on the number of concepts to which a neuron responds.

Funding

WG and CG were supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (www.nsf.gov), grant agreement 200020_184615 and by the European Union Horizon 2020 Framework Program (https:// ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/) under agreement no. 785907 (HumanBrain Project, SGA2). RQQ acknowledges support from Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

History

Citation

PLoS Comput Biol 17(12): e1009691

Author affiliation

Centre for Systems Neuroscience

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

PLoS Computational Biology

Volume

17

Issue

12

Publisher

Public Library of Science (PLoS)

issn

1553-734X

eissn

1553-7358

Acceptance date

2021-11-29

Copyright date

2021

Available date

2022-05-19

Language

en

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