In trying to analyse a dynamical system that remembers features from a continuum of possible stimuli, one of the key factors that I will have to take into consideration is that it can not be perfect. If there are only 2 (or any other finite) number of things to be learned then we could expect perfection. If the system were a computer, with an infinitely long tape and so on, then we could also expect certain degree of perfection. But when we are dealing with a system that decays over time, then the decay of the memorised stimuli has to come into play and be explained. This is indeed the case in the evolved circuits. And it is intuitively the case in living organisms… so the task now is to find some information and references about this.
Keywords: memory decay,retention rates, forgetting curves, forgetting rates, recognition and recall, associative memory, human learning and retention.
Journals: cognitive psychology, memory and cognition, journal of experimental psychology, psychological review.
Possibly relevant articles:
Wixted, J. T., & Ebbesen, E. B. (1991). On the form of forgetting. Psychological Science, 2, 409– 415.
Rubin, D. C., & Wenzel, A. E. (1996). One hundred years of forgetting: a quantitative
description of retention. Psychological Review, 103(4), 734–760.
Rubin, D. C., Hinton, S., & Wenzel, A. (1999). The precise time course of retention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 25(5), 1161–1176.
Murdock, B. B., Jr. (1982). A theory for the storage and retrieval of item and associative
information. Psychological Review, 89, 609–626.
Mensink, G.-J. M., & Raaijmakers, J. G. W. (1988). A model for interference and forgetting. Psychological Review, 95, 434–455.
Hovland, C. I. (1951). Human learning and retention. In S. S. Stevens (Ed.), Handbook of experimental psychology (pp. 613–689). New York: Wiley.
Hockley, W. E. (1991). Recognition memory for item and associative memory: a comparison of forgetting rates. In W. E. Hockley, & S. Lewandosky (Eds.), Relating theory and data: Essays on human memory in honor of Bennet B. Murdock (pp.227–248). Hillsdale, NJ:Erlbaum.
Gillund, G., & Shiffrin, R. M. (1984). A retrieval model for both recognition and recall.
Psychological Review, 91, 1–67.