A learning rule for local synaptic interactions between excitation and shunting inhibition

Neural Comput. 2004 Dec;16(12):2507-32. doi: 10.1162/0899766042321788.


The basic requirement for direction selectivity is a nonlinear interaction between two different inputs in space-time. In some models, the interaction is hypothesized to occur between excitation and inhibition of the shunting type in the neuron's dendritic tree. How can the required spatial specificity be acquired in an unsupervised manner? We here propose an activity-based, local learning model that can account for direction selectivity in visual cortex based on such a local veto operation and that depends on synaptically induced changes in intracellular calcium concentration. Our biophysical simulations suggest that a model cell with our learning algorithm can develop direction selectivity organically after unsupervised training. The learning rule is also applicable to a neuron with multiple-direction-selective subunits and to a pair of cells with opposite-direction selectivities and is stable under different starting conditions, delays, and velocities.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Computer Simulation
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Geniculate Bodies / cytology
  • Geniculate Bodies / physiology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Neurons
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology


  • Calcium