What Fires Together, Wires Together

Donald Hebb - 1949

Does the smell of vanilla extract remind you of the holidays, or Mom baking cookies, or make you smile, or make you hungry, or something completely different?

  • We tend to think of our memories as discrete items summoned up by associations which are often words or some other cognitive construct
  • In reality a memory is comprised of cognitive, emotional, sensory and movement components that are linked because they most often occur together or in sequence
  • While some associations are unilateral, some are bi-lateral

The concept applies to functions that are located near each other in the brain or have shared or common pathways

  • Activating one area of the brain can¬†activate others nearby or connected areas
  • This is the underlying reason why changing inputs can change outputs