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Cortical connectivity and sensory coding

Subjects

Abstract

The sensory cortex contains a wide array of neuronal types, which are connected together into complex but partially stereotyped circuits. Sensory stimuli trigger cascades of electrical activity through these circuits, causing specific features of sensory scenes to be encoded in the firing patterns of cortical populations. Recent research is beginning to reveal how the connectivity of individual neurons relates to the sensory features they encode, how differences in the connectivity patterns of different cortical cell classes enable them to encode information using different strategies, and how feedback connections from higher-order cortex allow sensory information to be integrated with behavioural context.

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Figure 1: Proposed fine structure of neocortical connections.
Figure 2: Coding strategies of different cortical layers.
Figure 3: Proposed relationship between feature mapping and coding in rodent visual cortex, cat visual cortex and rodent auditory cortex.

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Acknowledgements

We thank B. Rudy, G. Buzsaki, M. Hausser, B. Haider, S. Hofer, R. Bruno and M. Carandini for comments on the manuscript. K.D.H. is supported by the Wellcome Trust, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and US National Institutes of Health. T.M.-F. is supported by the Wellcome Trust and European Research Council.

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K.D.H. and T.M.-F. wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Kenneth D. Harris or Thomas D. Mrsic-Flogel.

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Harris, K., Mrsic-Flogel, T. Cortical connectivity and sensory coding. Nature 503, 51–58 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature12654

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