RE: Inernal meme?

Chris Lofting (
Wed, 29 Sep 1999 04:19:05 +1000

From: "Chris Lofting" <>
To: <>
Subject: RE: Inernal meme?
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 04:19:05 +1000
In-Reply-To: <>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf
> Of Nick Rose
> Sent: Wednesday, 29 September 1999 4:14
> To: JOM-EMIT Discussion List
> Subject: RE: Inernal meme?
> > Aaron:
> > As for the details of *how* the amygdala reaction pattern
> > develops as a result of several year's exposure to
> > someone using the word and also having the pattern, that
> > is a matter for further neuroscience research.
> >
> > Derek:
> > No, you haven't grasped my point. I'll try to explain
> > again.
> > If we have two subjects, and we hit both on the knee with
> > a hammer, then both will feel pain which will be
> > characterised at the neurological level by firing of
> > afferent neurons etc. However, the neurological patterns
> > are caused by the environmental stimulus, ie. the hammer,
> > not by the fact that the two subjects are exposed to each
> > other's presence. If one subject is not hit on the knee,
> > that subject will not have the stereotypical neural
> > reponse.
> > Likewise with the threat words; the stereotypical
> > amydalar activation is an environmental response, and is
> > not in any way itself contagious.
> My tuppence worth on this interesting strand...
> I'm not convinced that neurological research will *ever* be
> able to identify a meme. If a meme is defined as some sort
> of imitated or least socially learnt behaviour - in order
> to differentiate memes from other kinds of learning like
> conditioning - then the neurological question is whether we
> can identify neural structures which have been only been
> 'shaped' by processes akin to imitation and not other kinds
> of learning.

you need to look at the hippocampus for a possible expression of this. At
the literal level, rats running mazes use waypoint mapping processes and
included in this are 'place' cells situated in the hippocampus. Abstract
this process to general object thinking and the place cells now map ideas.

In this sense a place cell is combined with relational data to other cells
creating a mental map of abstract concepts the same as is used in more
concrete concepts, i.e. the methods for maze running.

These processes suggest imitation, mirroring, copying whatever :-)

> i.e. when you look at the pack of neurons in the amygdala
> (for example) can you with any confidence determine which
> structures have been shaped by classical conditioning and
> which shaped by social transmission and imitation? From the
> neurons and synapses themselves I'd guess that you
> couldn't.

Since the amygdala is primarily a secondary system and is linked to the
hippocampus etc so it could work to colour/set the tone of the data mapped
by the place cells of the hippocampus and the combination of this data is
then stored as a whole. Note that to lose all memory processing we must lose
BOTH hippocampus and amygdala.


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