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Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

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Comments

Johnh

Very interesting post... I think you hit the nail on the head when you say that words refer to world events. For instance the words "my dog" refer to what "my dog" typically looks like as she appears in my visual field. As these visual experiences occur day by day they form and shape my invariant "my dog" memory, composed of not one but a group of past visual experiences.

I have an idea on how words might "call up" word meaning memories and vice-versa. What if both a word symbol and its corresponding experience (in this case a visual experience) were stored in the cortex as a particlar pattern of neural oscillation. In addition, both memories (the word symbols "my dog" + the visual memory of my dog) form a larger pattern of neural oscillation. Thus, the activation of the word symbol memory "my dog" would activate the larger memory (NO pattern). This larger memory would in turn trigger the remainder of that memory, including the memory of what my dog looks like. Or conversely, the sight of one's dog would trigger both the invariant memory of what my dog looks like as well as the "my dog" word memory -- again via this associative neural oscillation mechanism.

Underlying this semantic retrival "model" is the idea that subjective experience, from a third person neural perspective, takes the form of neural oscillation patterns. Each and every stored experience (word symbol experience or word meaning experience) takes the form of a particular "NO" pattern.

NO patterns to me are the perfect mechanism for storing and (quickly) retrieving associated memories from the neural substrate. Since both memories and NO patterns are associative in nature, perhaps memories ARE neural oscillation patterns. If so, then this would explain how a word could "call up" a past perceptual experience, and vice versa.

Jerry Moore

Blair,
when you have time, look at this information on perceptual compensation and consequent semiomorphism (?).
http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nn.2795.html

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