Memory Wars: Contrasting Views of Memory from Systems Neuroscience Research

Memory Wars


Lindsey Williams



  • IAP 2018

Course Level: 

  • Graduate, Undergraduate

Course Description: 

Enrollment: Send resume to

Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions

Motivation:  Research in science is driven by frameworks and hypotheses that determine the design and interpretation of experiments and how the field evolves.  A critical discussion of these hypotheses can:  raise awareness of the current state of the field, gain familiarity with terminology and concepts, sharpen critical thinking skills, and develop intuition to design effective experiments to tackle key open questions.

Objectives: One goal is to achieve an intuitive understanding of the current state of two major sub-areas in memory research:  how are memories encoded and how are they processed at the cell population and systems level? Another goal is to experiment with a complementary way of discussing the literature, in which we will focus on a critical discussion of the big picture and context for current research, instead of the traditional journal clubs, which primarily target single-papers to discuss methods and design.

Structure: We will discuss two sets (4-6 each) of relevant papers that review contrasting hypotheses that are the basis for active areas of research in the field of memory.

Session Leaders and Organizers: Carmen Varela, Lindsey Williams, Felix Sosa

Contact: Carmen Varela, 46-5233,

Add to Calendar Jan/12 Fri 05:30PM-07:30PM 46-6199
Add to Calendar Jan/17 Wed 05:30PM-07:30PM 46-6199
Add to Calendar Jan/19 Fri 05:30PM-07:30PM 46-6199
Add to Calendar Jan/24 Wed 05:30PM-07:30PM 46-6199
Add to Calendar Jan/26 Fri 05:30PM-07:30PM 46-6199

Week 1. Social hour + discussion.  How does your background shape the way you think about science? How do different frameworks shape neuroscience research?

Week 2.  How is memory encoded? Spatial and cognitive maps, memory ensembles, grandmother cells.

Week 3. How is memory processed?  systems consolidation, complementary learning systems.

Additional Resources (PDF)

Carmen Varela - Research Scientist, Lindsey Williams - Research Assistant