Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization -- Department for Nonlinear Dynamics and Network Dynamics Group
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BCCN AG-Seminar

Thursday, 13.07.2006 16 c.t.

Sensory experience and the development of functional maps in visual cortex

by Prof. Dr.. Leonard E. White
from Department of Neurobiologz, Duke Universitz Medical Center, Durham, USA

Contact person: Fred Wolf


Seminarraum Haus 2, 4. Stock (Bunsenstr.)


The visual cortex of carnivores and primates is characterized by functional maps, which reflect the columnar organization of selective neuronal response properties and the arrangement of columns across the cortical area. Study of the development of functional maps in visual cortex has lead to important insight into the rules that govern the development of neural circuits in early postnatal life. Studies of ocular dominance and orientation maps have suggested two phases of cortical development: an early experience-independent phase in which cortical maps become established and mature, followed by a second later phase in which cortical maps are subject to experience-dependent plasticity. However, recent studies of another response property of the visual cortex, direction selectivity, indicate that this two-phase view cannot apply to all functional maps. I will present evidence showing an essential and unique role for early visual experience in the establishment and maturation of cortical direction selectivity and discuss implications for understanding how sensory experience shapes brain development in early postnatal life.

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