The Albin-DeLong 'box and arrow' model has long been the accepted standard model for the basal ganglia network. However, advances in physiological and anatomical research have enabled a more detailed neural network approach. Recent computational models hold that the basal ganglia use reinforcement signals and local competitive learning rules to reduce the dimensionality of sparse cortical information. These models predict a steady-state situation with diminished efficacy of lateral inhibition and low synchronization. In this framework, Parkinson's disease can be characterized as a persistent state of negative reinforcement, inefficient dimensionality reduction, and abnormally synchronized basal ganglia activity.