Hierarchical self-organization of minicolumnar receptive fields

Neural Netw. Oct-Nov 2004;17(8-9):1377-89. doi: 10.1016/j.neunet.2004.07.008.


We study self-organization of receptive fields (RFs) of cortical minicolumns. Input driven self-organization is induced by Hebbian synaptic plasticity of afferent fibers to model minicolumns based on spiking neurons and background oscillations. If input in the form of spike patterns is presented during learning, the RFs of minicolumns hierarchically specialize to increasingly small groups of similar RFs in a series of nested group subdivisions. In a number of experiments we show that the system finds clusters of similar spike patterns, that it is capable of evenly cover the input space if the input is continuously distributed, and that it extracts basic features from input consisting of superpositions of spike patterns. With a continuous version of the bars test we, furthermore, demonstrate the system's ability to evenly cover the space of extracted basic input features. The hierarchical nature and its flexibility with respect to input distinguishes the presented type of self-organization from others including similar but non-hierarchical self-organization as discussed in [Lucke J., & von der Malsburg, C. (2004). Rapid processing and unsupervised learning in a model of the cortical macrocolumn. Neural Computation 16, 501-533]. The capabilities of the presented system match crucial properties of the plasticity of cortical RFs and we suggest it as a model for their hierarchical formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology