Event Abstract

Neural Fields and Cortical Plasticity

  • 1 Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique (INRIA), France

Cortical plasticity and reorganization in adult mammalian brain cortex has been first reported some three decades ago and has been since the center of intensive studies in order to understand the synaptic and structural mechanisms underlying this property. More precisely, these studies shown that sensory cortical representations are able to reorganize themselves in face of a lesion or sensory deprivation and this would be true for (almost) the whole lifetime; well beyond the so-called critical period. This hypothesis is today strongly supported by several neurophysiological evidence even if the underlying mechanisms have not yet been identified.

In this context, we've been studied both the self-organization of the somatosensory cortex and its reorganization when a lesion or a sensory deprivation takes place. Based on recent neurophysiological studies and anatomical evidence, we hypothesize that the main site of cortical plasticity may be located in the thalamo-cortical afferent connections while lateral cortico-cortical connections could be used to establish a competition between cortical neurons such that after the competition stage, only a small group of neurons is able to tune itself onto the presented stimulus. The computational model is based on the neural field theory that promotes a mesoscopic approach of the cortex. It is based on a unique integro-differential equation that describes the evolution of cortical activity at any location. Thus a such neural field approach is quite consistent with the common view of the cortex as being a homogeneous structure made of the replication of a canonical element. We show that this model is able to self-organize itself in order to map sensory input and that it is able to recover from a lesion by reorganizing its representations consistently. Finally, in case of sensory deprivation, we show how neuron representations can migrate from inert sensory territories to active ones.


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Keywords: Brain cortex reorganization, computational neuroscience, Cortical Plasticity, neural fields, self-organization

Conference: BC11 : Computational Neuroscience & Neurotechnology Bernstein Conference & Neurex Annual Meeting 2011, Freiburg, Germany, 4 Oct - 6 Oct, 2011.

Presentation Type: Poster

Topic: learning and plasticity (please use "learning and plasticity" as keyword)

Citation: Detorakis G and Rougier N (2011). Neural Fields and Cortical Plasticity. Front. Comput. Neurosci. Conference Abstract: BC11 : Computational Neuroscience & Neurotechnology Bernstein Conference & Neurex Annual Meeting 2011. doi: 10.3389/conf.fncom.2011.53.00226

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Received: 27 Jul 2011; Published Online: 04 Oct 2011.

* Correspondence: Mr. Georgios Detorakis, Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique (INRIA), Nancy, France, gdetor@protonmail.com