In one of Karl Lashley's 1950 papers, it is pointed out that information is not stored locally in certain area of the brain. Instead, it's stored distributively over the structure of the brain. I'm curious about how, in detail, is it stored in "structure."

So what's the process when neurons try to encode information "distributively"? How do the brain retrieve these distributed information?

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    $\begingroup$ this is an extremely broad question. Please try to narrow it down to one that we would have a chance of answering. Also, please show what you already know about the question. Take a look at existing questions $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2012 at 15:08
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site Strin! I'm afraid that I have to close your question until you can improve it. Please don't be discouraged! If you can edit your question and tell us which specific Lashley paper you're talking about, and make the question much more specific, I will gladly reopen it. If you need help, please ask! Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Josh
    Mar 30, 2012 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ I think what he is talking about is the actual physical structure of the neurons encoding information. I have an answer involving axon growth, dendritic spine growth, etc... I voted to re-open the question, but some edits (including a link to the paper, fleshing the question out) would be appreciated. $\endgroup$
    – Preece
    Mar 31, 2012 at 0:54
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with @Preece that the question could be salvaged if the OP focuses it slightly and included proper references. Remember, you can edit questions and ask for them to be re-opened. $\endgroup$ Aug 11, 2012 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


Long-term potentiation (LTP) is thought to be a major mechanism of long-term learning, in which neurons throughout the brain undergo permanent physiological changes (e.g., migration of AMPA receptors to neuronal terminal buttons) that allow maintenance of the memory trace. A simpler version of this would be the famous aphorism (and oversimplication) regarding Hebbian learning -- "cells that fire together wire together."

  • $\begingroup$ This answer doesn't really talk about structure, it only mentions a very local update rule but not how the distribution of neurons and connection strengths created by following this rule encodes something. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2012 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ How the created distribution of neurons encode information? $\endgroup$
    – Strin
    Mar 31, 2012 at 2:12

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