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Linear associative memories (LAM) have been intensely used in the areas of pattern recognition and parallel processing for the past two decades. Application of LAM to nonlinear parameter estimation, however, has only been recently attempted. The process consists in converting the nonlinear function in the parameters into a set of linear algebraic equations. The nature of the linearized system and the factors influencing the accuracy of the parameter estimates have not yet been fully investigated. Here, LAM is applied to a nonlinear five-parameter model of the neuron. Ill-conditioning, which is often exhibited in LAM, is treated with the method of regularization as well as by the singular value decomposition (SVD). Simulation results indicate that the parameters estimated by LAM exhibit a remarkable robustness against additive white noise in comparison with the classical gradient optimization technique. Moreover, it is shown that regularization can be superior to SVD under certain conditions. The authors' results suggest that LAM can be used both as a noise reduction technique and as a stand-alone nonlinear parameter estimation algorithm. The comparison between LAM and a gradient technique show that, for this estimation problem, the LAM method can give more reliable estimates. Further improvements in estimation quality may still be achieved by the use of other forms of regularizing functions.