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Neural Information ProcessingComputational Models of Primary Visual Cortex

Neuronale Informationsverarbeitung

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Computational Models of Primary Visual Cortex


Primary visual cortex in higher animals like cats and non-human primates is one of the best characterized cortical areas. Therefore, it serves as a paradigmatic area for understanding visual processing and for understanding cortical computation in general. Here we use computational approaches, which are based on network models of different complexity (rate models vs. spiking models, integrate-and-fire vs. Hodgkin-Huxley models, columnar models vs. map models), in order to characterize the functional organization of visual cortex, to study the dynamics of the cortical network, and to evaluate hypotheses about the mechanisms shaping the response properties of visual cortical neurons. A recent model-based analysis of experimental data provided evidence, that cortical networks may operate in a regime which is close to the transition to self-sustained firing. This finding will serve as one starting point for further investigations.

Acknowledgement: Research was funded by BMBF, DFG, HFSPO, Welcome Trust and the Technische Universität Berlin.

Selected Publications:

Stimberg, M., Wimmer, K., Martin, R., Schwabe, L., Marino, J., Schummers, J., Lyon, D., Sur, M. and Obermayer, K. (2009). The Operating Regime of Local Computations in Primary Visual Cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 19, 2166 – 2180.

Schummers, J., Cronin, B., Wimmer, K., Stimberg, M., Martin, R., Obermayer, K., Koerding, K. and Sur, M. (2007). Dynamics of Orientation Tuning in Cat V1 Neurons Depend on Location within Layers and Orientation Maps. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 1, 145 – 159.

Schwabe, L., Obermayer, K., Angelucci, A. and Bressloff, P. (2006). The Role of Feedback in Shaping the Extra-Classical Receptive Field of Cortical Neurons: A Recurrent Network Model. Journal of Neuroscience, 26, 9117 – 9129.

Mariño, J., Schummers, J., Lyon, D., Schwabe, L., Beck, O., Wiesing, P., Obermayer, K. and Sur, M. (2005). Invariant Computations in Local Cortical Networks with Balanced Excitation and Inhibition. Nature Neuroscience, 8, 194 – 201.

Müller, T., Stetter, M., Hübener, M., Gödecke, I., Chapman, B., Löwel, S., Sengpiel, F., Bonhoeffer, T. and Obermayer, K. (2000). An Analysis of Orientation and Ocular Dominance Patterns in the Visual Cortex of Cats and Ferrets. Neural Computation, 12, 2573 – 2596.

Bauer, U., Scholz, M., Levitt, J., Obermayer, K. and Lund, J. (1999). A Model for the Depth-Dependence of Receptive Field Size and Contrast Sensitivity of Cells in Layer 4C of Macaque Striate Cortex. Vision Research, 39, 613 – 629.

Obermayer K. and Blasdel, G. (1997). Singularities in Primate Orientation Maps. Neural Computation, 9, 555 – 576.

Obermayer, K. and Blasdel, G. (1993). Geometry of Orientation and Ocular Dominance Columns in Monkey Striate Cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 13, 4114 – 4129.


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