‘I sometimes feel, on reviewing the evidence of the localisation of the memory trace, that the necessary conclusion is that learning just is not possible.’
— Karl Lashley
In the 1940s, neuroscience first acquired the means to probe neurons in the brain and monitor their electrical activity. Karl Lashley devoted his career to decoding the neural language of the brain. How is information stored?
Looking for particular locations where particular memories were localized he found only frustration. It came to be accepted that memories are each distributed through the brain, in the manner of a holograph.
Though this idea has been repeated often and has become well-accepted among researchers, it remains a negative statement about localized storage, not a positive statement about distributed storage. No code or mechanism has ever been discovered. Lashley’s quip has turned through the years into a hard, scientific reality.