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Science Technology

Scientists Afflict Computers With Schizophrenia 143

An anonymous reader writes "Computer networks that can't forget fast enough can show symptoms of of virtual schizophrenia, giving researchers new clues to the inner workings of schizophrenic brains, say researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Yale University. In their experiments, the scientists used a virtual neural network to simulate an excessive release of dopamine in the brain and found that the network recalled memories in a distinctly schizophrenic-like fashion. The results bolster a hypothesis known in schizophrenia circles as the hyperlearning hypothesis, which posits that people suffering from schizophrenia have brains that lose the ability to forget or ignore as much as they normally would. Without forgetting, they lose the ability to extract what's meaningful out of the immensity of stimuli the brain encounters."
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Scientists Afflict Computers With Schizophrenia

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  • Re:Hyperlearning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by easterberry ( 1826250 ) on Friday May 06, 2011 @01:54PM (#36049904)

    Ignoring == determining relevance.

    You ignore and quickly forget the information that isn't relevant and retain and think about that information that is is. Eidetic memory would allow them to retain all the information but still ignore what didn't matter. If they needed to, they could pull up what colour shoes they wore at age 12, but they would be able to determine that this information was "not important". Hyperlearning says that schizophrenia prevents this so that you can't tell the difference in importance between what you had for lunch last week and what you got on your last math test. This means that your brain is overloading itself trying to figure our WHY all these things matter and piece together connections between them when it shouldn't be.

  • Re:Hyperlearning (Score:4, Insightful)

    by monoqlith ( 610041 ) on Friday May 06, 2011 @01:58PM (#36049948)

    That's not the same thing as determining relevance.

    I think it pretty much is. 'Forgetting/remembering' at the neurological level is an emergent property of millions of neurons selecting salient information from their incident stimuli. What ends up being encoded into long term memory is a collaboration of each of these neural networks working on their piece of the 'salience' puzzle. The salience can be evaluated in a number of different ways - is it emotionally significant? is it practical information? But, actually, this research concerns even more basic evaluations, such as 'What are the basic grammatical structures in this sentence? What are the words, what are their meanings and how are they arranged? What is the content of the sentence as a whole?" If the wrong information is thrown out *or* remembered, it becomes very difficult for the brain to make sense of it.

    So forgetting/remembering are, in many ways, the same thing. In the process of remembering, we have to forget, or our memories quickly become incoherent.

I've got a bad feeling about this.