Activity Patterns in Cortical Minicolumns

  • Steen S. Christensen
  • Rodney M. J. Cotterill
  • Claus Nielsen
Conference paper
Part of the Perspectives in Neural Computing book series (PERSPECT.NEURAL)


The activation of cortical minicolumns has been investigated in a model in which the neurons lying in a given cortical layer are regarded as a collective unit. The behaviour of such a neuronal group is found to depend on the interplay between the excitatory and inhibitory cellular sub-populations. Likewise, the interactions between two assemblies, lying in different cortical layers in a given minicolumn, depend upon the nature of the connections between them. There is evidence of a control mechanism that stems from the balancing influences of excitation and inhibition. Because the interlayer connections are not symmetric, different layers are found to exhibit different types of behaviour, in accordance with physiological observations.


Superior Colliculus Cortical Layer Lateral Geniculate Nucleus Layer Versus Cellular Assembly 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Braitenberg, V. “Cell Assemblies in the Cerebral Cortex” in: Lecture Notes in Biomathematics ( R. Heim and G. Palm, eds.), Springer, Berlin, 1977, pp. 171–188.Google Scholar
  2. Braitenberg, V. Cortical Architectonics: General and Areal (M.A.B. Brazier and H. Petsche, eds.), Raven Press, New York, 1978.Google Scholar
  3. Crick, F., and Asanuma, C. “Certain aspects of the anatomy and physiology of the cerebral cortex” in: Parallel Distributed Processing, Vol. 2, ( J.L. McClelland and D.E. Rumelhart, eds.), Bradford MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1986.Google Scholar
  4. Crick, F. “The recent excitement about neural networks”. Nature 337, 129–133 (1989).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Crick, F. “The function of the thalomic reticular complex: The searchlight hypothesis”. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 81, 4586–4590 (1984).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crick, F. What Mad Pursuit, Basic Books, New York, 1988, p. 161.Google Scholar
  7. Gilbert, C.D. and Wiesel, T.N. “Intrinsic Connectivity and Receptive Field Properties in Visual Cortex”. Vision Research 25, 365–374 ( Pergamon, New York, 1985 ).Google Scholar
  8. Henry, S.H.C., Schwark, H.D., E.G. Jones and Yan, J. “Numbers and proportions of GABA-Immunoreactive Neurons in Different Areas of Monkey Cerebral Cortex”. Journal of Neuroscience 7, 1503–1519 (1987).Google Scholar
  9. Hopfield, J.J. “Neural Networks and Physical Systems with Emergent Collective Computational Abilities”. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 79, 2554–2558 (1982).MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kohonen, T. Self-Organization and Associative Memory, Springer, Berlin, 1989.Google Scholar
  11. Kuffler, S.W., Nicholls, J.G. and Martin, A.R. “From Neuron to Brain”, Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Mass., 1984, p. 21.Google Scholar
  12. Maunsell, J.H.R. and van Essen, D.C. “The Connections of the Middle Temporal Visual Area and their Relation to a Cortical Hierarchy in the Macaque Monkey”. Journal of Neuroscience 3, 2563–2586 (1983).Google Scholar
  13. Mountcastle, V.B. “An Organizing Principle for Cerebral Function: The Unit Module and the Distributed System” in: Neuroscience 4th Study Programme ( F.O. Schmitt, ed.), MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1979.Google Scholar
  14. Pollen, D.A., Gaska, J.P. and Jacobsen, L.D. “Physiological Constraints on Models of Visual Cortical Function” in: Models of Brain Function ( R.M.J. Cotterill, ed.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1989, pp. 115–136.Google Scholar
  15. Sterling, P. “Microcircuitry and Functional Architecture of the Cat Retina”. Trends in Neuroscience 9, 186–192 (1986).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Szentágothai, J. “Local Neuron Circuits of the Neocortex” in: Neuroscience 4th Study Programme ( F.O. Schmitt, ed.), MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1979.Google Scholar
  17. Wiesel, T.N. and Gilbert, C.D. “Morphological Basis of Visual Cortical Function”. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Physiology 68, 525–543 (1983).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steen S. Christensen
    • 1
  • Rodney M. J. Cotterill
    • 1
  • Claus Nielsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiophysicsThe Technical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark

Personalised recommendations