Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Cortical architecture

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Tom Binzegger


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


The evolution of the structure of the neocortex is one of the most important events in the chain that led to the human brain. The paleontological evidence shows that the human brain expanded two-fold in size over three million years, while modern chimpanzees still have brains about the size of the earliest hominids. The brains of chimpanzees and modern humans have a similar anatomy, so the vast difference in their size (400ml vs 1400ml) is due to an expansion of the cerebral cortex, rather than the development of entirely novel brain structures. Here we explore in what way the neocortical circuits are common to all mammalian species. We define a canonical structure that can be identified in all cortical areas and in all land-based mammalian species where data are available. This structure has recurrent excitatory and inhibitory loops formed by local neurons as a feature of its design. Quantitative studies from our laboratory show that the input from the sensory periphery forms less than one percent of the total input to the primary visual cortex in the cat. Thus the major synaptic input to a cortical neuron comes from its neighbors. We provide a conceptual model that offers an operational view of how the canonical circuit of the neocortex might operate. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Binzegger T, Douglas RJ, Martin KAC

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Brain, Vision, and Artificial Intelligence

Year: 2005

Volume: 3704

Pages: 15-28

Print publication date: 01/01/2005

Series Title: Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)

Publisher: Springer

Place Published: Berlin


DOI: 10.1007/11565123_2

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9783540292821


Link to this publication