Does the human brain operate like an algorithm when trying to remember something?

I did a minor on cognitive modeling and an essay on memory and the hippocampus. So I don't claim to be an expert, but I can provide some more details.

You mentioned that human memory is different from computer memory in that it's content-addressable. The specific way that memory system in the brain works is by way of an auto-associative network. This type of network completes patterns. If you give it part of a pattern as an input, for example: "To be or not to be,...", it will complete the pattern and give "To be or not to be, that is the question" as an output. To do this well, the network has a feedback connection to use its own output as the new input to progressively complete the pattern more and more. This auto-associator is located in a part of the hippocampus called CA3.

(Notice that the form of the input data is the same as the form of the output data, this is different from computer memory, where you give an address as an input, and recieve some different type of data as an output. That type of network is called hetero-associative)

To work correctly, the auto-associator's input needs to be as unique as possible. If you need to remember a certain friend, you don't want to give as an input "he has two eyes, a nose, a mouth" etc., you need to strip that all away and be left with an input like "He has a big nose and a birthmark on his left cheek.". That is called pattern separation, it's performed by the Dentate Gyrus (DG). Pattern separation is also called orthogonalization, I don't fully understand why, the article says it's "because it reduces the magnitude of the dot product between any two given input vectors of neural activity.".

I'd also like to add that these mechanisms only apply to certain kinds of memory, namely episodic and semantic memory. Where episodic is "I drank some wine with my friend yesterday," and semantic is "This hangover caused by dehydration." Other types of memory are encoded in different ways, and don't involve the hippocampus.

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