John Libbey Eurotext

Revue de neuropsychologie


The key role of simultaneity in memory mechanisms: A dialogue between psychoanalysis, philosophy, and neuroscience Volume 14, issue 4, Volume 14, numéro 4, Octobre-Novembre-Décembre 2022

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* Correspondance : J. Tran The

Memory is an essential component of our experience of time. Neurodegenerative pathologies such as Alzheimer’s disease show that, when this cognitive function is altered, our subjective experience and our temporal consciousness are disturbed. But if memory is a condition for the perception of a subjective temporality, time can also be a condition for our memory. A temporal factor, simultaneity, plays a decisive role in the inscription of our perceptive experience in the form of synaptic traces. From his earliest work on conditioning, Pavlov demonstrated that the temporal coincidence between two stimuli was an essential condition for the establishment of a form of memorization in animals. We can observe that the importance of simultaneity (i.e., temporal synchrony between two stimuli, which is necessary to establish a memory association) turns out to be a surprising point of intersection between psychoanalysis and neuroscience. We can thus try to create a dialogue between the Freudian theory of first perceptual experience inscription and neurobiological research on the role of coincidence detection in molecular and cellular mechanisms of memory.