Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 108, Issue 5, pp 559–572 | Cite as

Cell assemblies in the cerebral cortex

  • Günther Palm
  • Andreas Knoblauch
  • Florian Hauser
  • Almut Schüz


Donald Hebb’s concept of cell assemblies is a physiology-based idea for a distributed neural representation of behaviorally relevant objects, concepts, or constellations. In the late 70s Valentino Braitenberg started the endeavor to spell out the hypothesis that the cerebral cortex is the structure where cell assemblies are formed, maintained and used, in terms of neuroanatomy (which was his main concern) and also neurophysiology. This endeavor has been carried on over the last 30 years corroborating most of his findings and interpretations. This paper summarizes the present state of cell assembly theory, realized in a network of associative memories, and of the anatomical evidence for its location in the cerebral cortex.


Cerebral cortex Cell assemblies Synaptic plasticity Associative memory Brain theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Günther Palm
    • 1
  • Andreas Knoblauch
    • 2
    • 3
  • Florian Hauser
    • 1
  • Almut Schüz
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Neural Information ProcessingUniversity of UlmUlmGermany
  2. 2.Honda Research Institute Europe GmbHOffenbach/MainGermany
  3. 3.Engineering FacultyAlbstadt-Sigmaringen UniversityAlbstadtGermany
  4. 4.MPI for Biological CyberneticsTübingenGermany

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