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Abstract

Grossberg's principles of neural modeling are reviewed and extended to provide a neural level theory to explain how analogies greatly increase the rate of learning and can, in fact, make learning and retention possible. In terms of memory, the key point is that the mind is able to recognize and recall when it is able to match sensory input from new objects, events, or situations with past memory records of “similar” objects, events, or situations. When a match occurs, an adaptive resonance is set up in which the synaptic strengths of neurons are increased; thus a long term record of the new input is formed in memory. Systems of neurons called outstars and instars are presumably the underlying units that enable this to occur. Analogies can greatly facilitate learning and retention because they activate the outstars (i.e., the cells that are sampling the to-be-learned pattern) and cause the neural activity to grow exponentially by forming feedback loops. This increased activity insures the boost in synaptic strengths of neurons, thus causing storage and retention in long-term memory (i.e., learning).