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A countercurrent system for dimensional integration of lifetime memory.

The fact that each functionally specialized cortical area is topographically connected with many others - typically in reciprocal fashion - makes contextual embedding of information an obligatory feature of cortical function. The laminar organization of this connectivity into two oppositely directed functional streams implements a countercurrent scheme for "contextual capture" of information for permanent storage which combines item specificity with classificatory generality. The result is a globally coherent epistemic space supporting the lifelong cumulative growth of "personal history", a powerful mode of inductive knowledge which incorporates the formal powers of algorithms such as "latent semantic analysis" and the Helmholtz machine. Its content is your knowledge, and it updates that knowledge every second of your waking hours by bringing your prior knowledge to bear on every new instance of focal experience - however particularized - in the process of contextual capture. To know in this way is to know like a mammal.

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