Re: Doogie Mice

Robert J. Bradbury (
Thu, 2 Sep 1999 14:11:51 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 2 Sep 1999, Brian S wrote:

> > I repeat my previous guess that augmented memory trades off
> > with flexibility of memory in some way, possibly even
> > with the ability to think about symbols consciously
> > and manipulate their definitions.
> > Yudkowsky
> Sorry I missed your previous statements. But are you
> saying that augmented memory resulting in better
> recall, also results in loss of ability to understand symbols?

No. The problem is that learning involves an aquisition phase and an execution phase.

>From the abstract:
> NR2B is critical in gating the *age-dependent threshold for plasticity
> and memory formation*. NMDA-receptor-dependent modifications of synaptic
> efficacy, therefore, represent a unifying mechanism for associative
> learning and memory

What they have done, I think, is extend the childhood aquisition phase into adulthood with higher levels of the receptors.

There *may* be a "cost" to this, but I don't think it is mental as Eliezer suggests. It may simply be economic. Why waste the energy and nutrient resources making all those extra receptors when you are at a stage in your life when you should be using your previously accumulated memories to make offspring? Memories aren't good for anything unless you (as a mouse) are using them for survival and reproduction!

Sexual maturity -- first it makes us dumb, then it eventually kills us (by shifting resources away from maintenence & repair).

Great, really great! :-(