Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 1–18 | Cite as

A theory for the development of feature detecting cells in visual cortex

  • Menasche M. Nass
  • Leon N. Cooper


Passive modification of the strength of synaptic junctions that results in the construction of internal mappings with some of the properties of memory is shown to lead to the development of Hubel-Wiesel type feature detectors in visual cortex. With such synaptic modification a cortical cell can become committed to an arbitrary but repeated external pattern, and thus fire every time the pattern is presented even if that cell has no genetic pre-disposition to respond to the particular pattern. The additional assumption of lateral inhibition between cortical cells severely limits the number of cells which respond to one pattern as well as the number of patterns that are picked up by a cell. The introduction of a simple neural mapping from the visual field to the lateral geniculate leads to an interaction between patterns which, combined with our assumptions above, seems to lead to a progression of patterns from column to column of the type observed by Hubel and Wiesel in monkey.


Visual Field Visual Cortex Type Feature Additional Assumption Lateral Inhibition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Hubel, D.H., Wiesel, T.N.: J. Physiol148, 574 (1959)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hubel, D.H., Wiesel, T.N.: J. Physiol.160, 106 (1962)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Blakemore, C., Cooper, G.F.: Nature228, 477 (1970)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hirsch, H.V.B., Spinelli, D.N.: Exp. Brain Res13, 509 (1971)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Blakemore, C., Mitchell, D.E.: Nature241, 467 (1973)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Pettigrew, J.D., Freeman, R.D.: Science182, 599 (1973)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Imbert, M.: to be publishedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cooper, L.N.: In: Lundquist, B., Lundquist, S. (Eds.): Proceedings of the Nobel symposium on collective properties of physical systems. London-New York: Academic Press 1973Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Malsburg, C. von der: Kybernetik14, 85 (1973)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Perez, R., Glass, L., Shlaer, R.: To be publishedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hubel, D.H., Wiesel, T.N.: J. Physiol.165, 559 (1963)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Talbot, S.A., Marshall, W.H.: Amer. J. Opthamol.24, 1255 (1941)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Daniel, P.M., Whitteridge, D.: J. Physiol.159, 203 (1961)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hubel, D.H., Wiesel, T.N.: J. Neurophysiol.28, 229 (1965)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hubel, D.H., Wiesel, T.N.: J. Neurophysiol.26, 994 (1963)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Barlow, H.B., Pettigrew, J.C.: J Physiol.218, 98P (1971)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wiesel, T.N., Hubel, D.H.: J. Neurophysiol.28, 1029 (1965)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Anderson, J.A.: Math. Bio-Sci.8, 137 (1970) and Anderson, J.A.: Math. Bio-Sci.14, 197 (1972)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Anderson, J., Cooper, L., Nass, M., Freiberger, W., Grenander, U.: AAAS Symposium, Theoretical Biology and Bio-Mathematics (1972)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Herz, A., Creutzfeldt, O., Fuster, J.: Kybernetik2, 61 (1964)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hubel, D.H., Wiesel, T.N.: J. Neurophysiol.26, 994 (1963)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Enroth-Cugell, C., Robson, J.G.: J. Physiol.,187, 517 (1966)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hoffmann, K.P., Stone, J.: Brain Research32, 460 (1971)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Scheibel, M.E., Scheibel, A.B.: In: Schmitt, F.O. (Ed.): The neurosciences, Vol. II. New York: Rockefeller University Press, N. Y. 1970Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Pettigrew, J.D., Nikara, T., Bishop, P.O.: Exp. Brain Research6, 391 (1968)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Creutzfeldt, O., Ito, M.: Exp. Brain Research6, 324 (1968)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hubel, D.H., Wiesel, T.N.: J. Physiol.195, 215 (1968)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kuffler, S.W.: J. Neurophysiol.16, 37 (1953)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Hubel, D.H., Wiesel, T.N.: J. Physiol.155, 385 (1961)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Stevens, C.F.: Neurophysiology: A Primer. New York: John Wiley and Sons 1966Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Knight, B.W.: J. Gen Physiol.59, 734 (1972)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Menasche M. Nass
    • 1
  • Leon N. Cooper
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physics and Center for Neural StudiesBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

Personalised recommendations