Advertisement

Statistical Mechanics of Nervous Nets

  • J. D. Cowan

Abstract

There are many deep and difficult problems to be solved before any adequate understanding is achieved, of the workings of the central nervous system. “Macro”-neurophysiology and neuroanatomy provide an image of the central nervous system as a system of ordered nets arranged in a multileveled hierarchy, with an immense number of circuits within and between nets. Feedback inhibition undoubtedly plays a very important role in maintaining the activity of such nets, which is controlled by internal and external signals, especially from nets in the lower levels of the hierarchy (the reticular systems), and by signals from the receptors. “Micro”-neurophysiology and anatomy fill in the details necessarily obscured by macroscopic analysis. The analysis of intercellular interactions and of the responses of cells to specific forms, has established that there is a specific organization of nets into functional columns maintained by nearest neighbor interactions, by spatial summation and by inhibition. There are topological maps between many nets and from receptive fields. There are differences between the responses of nets in anaesthetized and unanaesthetized animals In unanaesthetized animals, cells may exhibit a maintained or “steady-state” reponse in addition to the transient response normally found in the cells of anaesthetized animals. How do these tonic and phasic responses influence each other? What is the role of the functional columns, and of the multileveled hierarchies? These are key questions that must be answered before any real understanding of neural coding and information processing can be expected.

Keywords

Excitatory Synapse Apical Dendrite Neural Oscillator Spatial Summation Thalamic Neuron 
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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Eccles, J. C.: The physiology of nerve cells. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press 1957.Google Scholar
  2. Eccles, J. C.: Brain and conscious experience, 24–58. Ed. J. C. Eccles 1966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Farley, B. G.: Computers in biomedical research 2, Academic Press 1965.Google Scholar
  4. Gerstein, G. L., and B. Mandelbrot: Biophys. J. 4, 1 (1964).Google Scholar
  5. Griffith, J. S.: Biophys. J. 3, 299–308 (1963).Google Scholar
  6. Griffith, J. S.: Bull. Math. Biophys. 25, 111–120 (1963); 27, 187–195 (1965).Google Scholar
  7. Ter Haar, D.: Introduction to the physics of manybody systems. Interscience (N.Y. ) 1958Google Scholar
  8. Ten Hoonen, M.: Cybernetics of neural processes. Ed. E. R. CAIANIELLO, CNR, Rome 1965.Google Scholar
  9. Hoonen, M.: Biophys. J. 6, 435–451 (1966).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hoonen, M., and H. A. Reuver: Selective interaction of two recurrent processes. J. Appl. Prob. 2, 286–292 (1965).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mcculloch, W. S., and W. Pirrs: Bull. Math. Biophys. 5, 115–133 (1943).MathSciNetMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. von Neumann, J.: Automata studies, 43–98, Eds. C. Shannon, and J. Mccarthy, P.U.P., 1956.Google Scholar
  13. Poggio, G. F., and L. J. Viernstein: J. Neurophysiol. 1964, 6.Google Scholar
  14. Rall, W.: Exp. Neurol. 1, 491–527 (1959).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rosenblatt, F.: Principles of neurodynamics. Spartan Books 1962.Google Scholar
  16. Sholl, D. A.: The organization of the cerebral cortex. London: Methuen 1956.Google Scholar
  17. Smith, D. R., and C. H. Davidson: J. Amer. Med. Ass. 9, 268–279 (1962).MathSciNetMATHGoogle Scholar
  18. Smith, D. R., and G. K. SMITH: Biophys. J. 5, 10 (1965).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Stein, R. B.: Biophys. J. 5, 2 (1965).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Taylor, W. K.: Proc. Roy. Soc. B. 159, 466–4678 (1964).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Taylor, W. K.: Proc. Roy. Soc. B. 159, 466–4678 (1964).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Utrley, A. M.: Brain Res. 2, 21–50 (1966).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wiener, N.: Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 50, 4 187–278 (1948).MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wiener, N.: Prog. in Brain Res. 17, 398–415 (1965).Google Scholar
  25. Winograd, S., and J. D. Cowan: Reliable computation in the presence of noise. M.I.T. Press 1963.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. D. Cowan
    • 1
  1. 1.Committee on Mathematical BiologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations