On the computational architecture of the neocortex. II. The role of cortico-cortical loops

Biol Cybern. 1992;66(3):241-51. doi: 10.1007/BF00198477.


This paper is a sequel to an earlier paper which proposed an active role for the thalamus, integrating multiple hypotheses formed in the cortex via the thalamo-cortical loop. In this paper, I put forward a hypothesis on the role of the reciprocal, topographic pathways between two cortical areas, one often a 'higher' area dealing with more abstract information about the world, the other 'lower', dealing with more concrete data. The higher area attempts to fit its abstractions to the data it receives from lower areas by sending back to them from its deep pyramidal cells a template reconstruction best fitting the lower level view. The lower area attempts to reconcile the reconstruction of its view that it receives from higher areas with what it knows, sending back from its superficial pyramidal cells the features in its data which are not predicted by the higher area. The whole calculation is done with all areas working simultaneously, but with order imposed by synchronous activity in the various top-down, bottom-up loops. Evidence for this theory is reviewed and experimental tests are proposed. A third part of this paper will deal with extensions of these ideas to the frontal lobe.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Cybernetics
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Pyramidal Tracts / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology