FIGURE 5 | Sparse representation of concepts in the medial temporal lobe.

From the following article:

Concept cells: the building blocks of declarative memory functions

Rodrigo Quian Quiroga

Nature Reviews Neuroscience 13, 587-597 (August 2012)

doi:10.1038/nrn3251

Concept cells: the building blocks of declarative memory functions

On the left is a hypothetical cell assembly encoding the concept 'Luke Skywalker' (marked in red). Of these neurons, some also fire to Yoda (identified with a blue line contour), and some others fire to Darth Vader (identified with a green line contour). The activation of the 'Luke Skywalker cell assembly', for example, after seeing his picture, can then trigger other associated concepts, such as Yoda or Darth Vader, through the firing of the neurons with an overlapping representation and pattern completion59. Such partially overlapping representation could be the basis of the encoding and learning of associations and episodic memories.

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