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Statistical Coding and Short-Term Synaptic Plasticity: A Scheme for Knowledge Representation in the Brain

  • Christoph von der Malsburg
  • Elie Bienenstock
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 20)

Abstract

This work is a theoretical investigation of some consequences of the hypothesis that transmission efficacies of synapses in the Central Nervous System (CNS) undergo modification on a short time-scale. Short-term synaptic plasticity appears to be an almost necessary condition for the existence of activity states in the CNS which are stable for about 1 sec., the time-scale of psychological processes. It gives rise to joint “activity-and-connectivity” dynamics. This dynamics selects and stabilizes particular high-order statistical relationships in the timing of neuronal firing; at the same time, it selects and stabilizes particular connectivity patterns. In analogy to statistical mechanics, these stable states, the attractors of the dynamics, can be viewed as the minima of a hamiltonian, or cost function. It is found that these low-cost states, termed synaptic patterns, are topologically organized. Two important properties of synaptic patterns are demonstrated: (i) synaptic patterns can be “memorized” and later “retrieved”, and (ii) synaptic patterns have a tendency to assemble into compound patterns according to simple topological rules. A model of position-invariant and size-invariant pattern recognition based on these two properties is briefly described. It is suggested that the scheme of a synaptic pattern may be more adapted than the classical cell-assembly notion for explaining cognitive abilities such as generalization and categorization, which pertain to the notion of invariance.

Keywords

Random Graph Synaptic Weight Label Pattern Fine Temporal Structure Synfire Chain 
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.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph von der Malsburg
    • 1
  • Elie Bienenstock
    • 2
  1. 1.Abteilung für NeurobiologieMax-Planck-Institut für Biophysikalische ChemieGöttingenW. Germany
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Neurobiologie du DéveloppementUniversité de Paris-SudOrsay CedexFrance

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