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Cephalopod NeurobiologyNeuroscience Studies in Squid, Octopus and Cuttlefish$
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N. Joan Abbott, Roddy Williamson, and Linda Maddock

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198547907

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198547907.001.0001

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Multiple matrices in the memory system of Octopus

Multiple matrices in the memory system of Octopus

(p.431) 26 Multiple matrices in the memory system of Octopus
Cephalopod Neurobiology

J. Z. Young

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the multiple matrices in the memory system of octopus. The capacity to set up and hold the memory is distributed among many distinct matrices. This distribution implies that each area contributes a part of the whole and the record is also distributed within each part. The results of removing individual lobes or parts of them in an octopus have shown that the memory is indeed distributed in this way. Each matrix of the sequence plays a different part in the whole process but none is uniquely essential. Such a system provides the characteristics that are necessary for a useful memory. It allows for fault tolerance, generalization, and completion; that is, recognition of situations in spite of their variations. Organization of numerous channels into a series of matrices is a method of achieving those results given the properties of nervous tissues. The systems in Octopus for visual and touch learning are distinct but have some overlap. In the visual system the impulses from groups of retinal receptors are passed through the optic lobes and then a series of four further matrices of intersecting axons. With appropriate synaptic changes these form associations between conjunctions of signals of visual events and their consequences, producing attack or retreat. The touch memory consists primarily of four matrices, but the tactile impulses from the arms also have access to the visual centers so that no less than eight centers are involved. Injury to any of them reduces the accuracy of learned discriminations of rough and smooth objects.

Keywords:   Octopus, central nervous system, matrix, memory system, retinal receptors, optic lobes

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