Challenging the Intuition about Memory and Computation in Theories of Cognition

Jochen Kerdels, Gabriele Peters

Abstract

In this position paper we argue that the concepts of memory and computation as they are commonly used in theories of cognition are strongly influenced by our intuitive understanding of the corresponding concepts in contemporary computer systems, leading to an implicit loss of biological plausibility. To support our argument we provide an alternative perspective on memory and computation that allows a closer comparison of the capabilities of computer programs running on computer systems and neurobiological systems showing that computer programs exhibit a computational flexibility that is difficult to reconcile with neurobiological constraints. We end this paper by offering a neurobiologically plausible perspective on memory that views memory as a dynamic, distributed process that is an intrinsic part of a neurobiological network that integrates information, e.g., sensory information.

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