If Synaptic long-term potentiation (LTP) represents a memory storage mechanism, its induction and expression characteristics may constitute rules governing encoding and read-out of memory in cortical circuitry, The presence of variants of the LTP effect in different anatomical networks provides grounds for predictions about the types of memory operations to which potentiation contributes. Computer modeling studies incorporating the complex rules for LTP induction and the characteristics of expressed potentiation can be used to make such predictions specific. We review ttie types of synaptic plasticity found in the successive stages of the corticohippocampal pathway, and present results indicating that LTP does participate in definably different forms of memory, suggesting a classification of memory types differing somewhat from categories deduced from behavioral studies. Specifically, the results suggest that subtypes of memory operate serially, in an “assembly line” of specialized functions, each of which adds a unique aspect to the processing of memories. The effects of lesions on the encoding versus expression of memory can be interpreted from the perspective of this hypothesis.

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