Synaptic modification by correlated activity: Hebb's postulate revisited

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2001:24:139-66. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.24.1.139.


Correlated spiking of pre- and postsynaptic neurons can result in strengthening or weakening of synapses, depending on the temporal order of spiking. Recent findings indicate that there are narrow and cell type-specific temporal windows for such synaptic modification and that the generally accepted input- (or synapse-) specific rule for modification appears not to be strictly adhered to. Spike timing-dependent modifications, together with selective spread of synaptic changes, provide a set of cellular mechanisms that are likely to be important for the development and functioning of neural networks. When an axon of cell A is near enough to excite cell B or repeatedly or consistently takes part in firing it, some growth or metabolic change takes place in one or both cells such that A's efficiency, as one of the cells firing B, is increased.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*