, Volume 101, Issue 5-6, pp 427-444

Emergence of network structure due to spike-timing-dependent plasticity in recurrent neuronal networks IV

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In neuronal networks, the changes of synaptic strength (or weight) performed by spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) are hypothesized to give rise to functional network structure. This article investigates how this phenomenon occurs for the excitatory recurrent connections of a network with fixed input weights that is stimulated by external spike trains. We develop a theoretical framework based on the Poisson neuron model to analyze the interplay between the neuronal activity (firing rates and the spike-time correlations) and the learning dynamics, when the network is stimulated by correlated pools of homogeneous Poisson spike trains. STDP can lead to both a stabilization of all the neuron firing rates (homeostatic equilibrium) and a robust weight specialization. The pattern of specialization for the recurrent weights is determined by a relationship between the input firing-rate and correlation structures, the network topology, the STDP parameters and the synaptic response properties. We find conditions for feed-forward pathways or areas with strengthened self-feedback to emerge in an initially homogeneous recurrent network.