This book contains terms that I wish my students to know. I hope that the book will also be of interest to additional audiences. Over the years, the members of my research group have joined in from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from psychology via biology to computer science. The common denominator was always keen interest in the marvels of "memory.1 To facilitate the translation of this interest into science, the members of the team must master a language. This is an attempt to present and explain selected elements in this language. The fact that the science of memory is but one branch of science, combined with the unavoidable idiosyncrasy in the selection, resulted in the inclusion in the book of some terms that are shared by other sectors of the scientific "culture as well.
The entries can be read as is. They may also be used as a versatile tool kit: a source for definitions, information, and further reading; a trigger for contemplation and discussion; and an aid to study, teaching, and debates in classes and seminars. The entries are not a replacement for comprehensive professional reviews; they could, however, incite interest in further delving into the literature. In writing the entries, I tried to follow the advice of Poe (1846) that the optimal length of an item should fit to be read in a single sitting. I do realize that cutural respect for the exploitation of human "attention span has probably declined over the past 150 years, but still, I hope that I did not deviate much from Poe's "criterion.
The definition(s) at the beginning of each entry, and the ones scattered throughout the text introduce into this book elements of a lexicon. The humble fate of lexicographers did not escape my notice: '...these unhappy mortals. can only hope to escape reproach, and even this negative recompense has been granted to very few' (Johnson 1755). A number of colleagues have read versions of selected entries and provided the right combination of encouragement and reproach. Among them were Ehud Ahissar, Amos Arieli, Diego Berman, Aline Desmedt, Haim Garty, Patricia Goldman-Rakic,
Howard Eichenbaum, Mark Konishi, Serge Laroche, Joseph LeDoux, Rafi Malach, Henry Markram, Randolf Menzel, Richard Morris, Karim Nader, Lars Nyberg, Noa Ofen-Noy, Robert Rescorla, Nava Rubin, Dov Sagi, Menahem Segal, Roni Seger, Alcino Silva, Burton Slotnick, Wendy Suzuki, and Misha Tsodyks. I am grateful to them all for their wise advice, although, of course, they should be blamed for nothing.
I am particularly grateful to my wife, Rina, for her loving support, keen interest, and shrewd comments.
I also appreciate the reactions of many students who attended my lectures at the Weizmann Institute of Science, the University of Edinburgh, New York University, and the Gulbenkian Institute of Science, Oeiras, Portugal. Major parts of this book were written at the Weizmann Institute, and others at the Center for Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh, and at the Center for Neural Science, New York University. I am grateful to Joe LeDoux and Richard Morris for their friendship and for being such patient and kind hosts. Thanks go also to Tom Boyd from the Royal Society, London, for the reference on the first use of the "mouse in scientific experiments; to Francis Colpaert for advice on the "state-dependent learning literature and for Collin's The moonstone (1868/1992); to Liba Cehrnobrov and Anna Llionsky from the Wix Central Library services at the Weizmann Institute, to Shoshi Hazvi from the Department of Neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute, and to librarians at the University of Edinburgh and New York University, for assisting me in obtaining hard-to-get copies of enjoyable books and articles. Reading these sources reinforced my conviction that some important questions, ideas, and even answers are much older than we tend to pretend, a fact of life that should be occasionally "recalled and re"con-solidated in our "collective memory.
1 Throughout the text, terms preceded by an asterisk refer to entries in the book.
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