Dynamic Depolarization Fields in the Cerebral Cortex

Trends Neurosci. 2002 Apr;25(4):183-90. doi: 10.1016/s0166-2236(00)02125-1.


Recent physiological evidence shows that in response to stimuli and preceding motor activity, large fields of the upper layers of the cerebral cortex depolarize. It is argued that this finding is a general one and that these dynamic depolarization fields represent the computational elements of the cerebral cortex. Each depolarization field engages many more neurons than do columns and hyper-columns. These fields can be explained by cooperative neuronal computing in layers I-III of the cortex. In these layers, the computing modes might be general for all parts of the cerebral cortex and be sufficiently flexible to handle all sorts of cortical computations, including perception, memory storage, memory retrieval, thought and the production of behavior.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Pyramidal Cells / cytology
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*