Neurons and networks organizing and sequencing memories

Sam A. Deadwyler, Theodore W. Berger, Ioan Opris, Dong Song, Robert E. Hampson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Hippocampal CA1 and CA3 neurons sampled randomly in large numbers in primate brain show conclusive examples of hierarchical encoding of task specific information. Hierarchical encoding allows multi-task utilization of the same hippocampal neural networks via distributed firing between neurons that respond to subsets, attributes or "categories" of stimulus features which can be applied in events in different contexts. In addition, such networks are uniquely adaptable to neural systems unrestricted by rigid synaptic architecture (i.e. columns, layers or "patches") which physically limits the number of possible task-specific interactions between neurons. Also hierarchical encoding is not random; it requires multiple exposures to the same types of relevant events to elevate synaptic connectivity between neurons for different stimulus features that occur in different task-dependent contexts. The large number of cells within associated hierarchical circuits in structures such as hippocampus provides efficient processing of information relevant to common memory-dependent behavioral decisions within different contextual circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-344
Number of pages10
JournalBrain research
StatePublished - Sep 24 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Hierarchical encoding
  • Hippocampal neurons
  • Memory
  • Nonhuman primates
  • Nonlinear hierarchical model
  • Retention and retrieval

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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