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CerOReilly06 Cer, D.M. & O'Reilly, R.C. (2006). Neural mechanisms of binding in the hippocampus and neocortex: Insights from computational models. H.D. Zimmer, A. Mecklinger & U. Lindenberger (Eds) Binding in Memory, Oxford: Oxford University Press. pdf icon.png CerOReilly06.pdf


An account of the neurological mechanisms that underlie binding is given which is characterized by the decomposition of the binding problem into three distinct subproblems. Each subproblem is then supported by anatomically specialized brain regions. The posterior cortex employs coarse-coded distributed representations of low-order conjunctions to resolve binding ambiguities, while also supporting systematic generalization to novel stimuli and situations. These representations are slowly acquired over experience. The hippocampus can more rapidly bind higher-order conjunctions of information such as episodes or locations. Finally, the prefrontal cortex supports transient, actively maintained bindings that are used in the service of working memory. We argue that this approach to the binding problem compares favorably with those based on temporal synchrony binding.