Neural representation and the cortical code

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2000:23:613-47. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.23.1.613.


The principle function of the central nervous system is to represent and transform information and thereby mediate appropriate decisions and behaviors. The cerebral cortex is one of the primary seats of the internal representations maintained and used in perception, memory, decision making, motor control, and subjective experience, but the basic coding scheme by which this information is carried and transformed by neurons is not yet fully understood. This article defines and reviews how information is represented in the firing rates and temporal patterns of populations of cortical neurons, with a particular emphasis on how this information mediates behavior and experience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Processes / physiology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Sensation / physiology