Neural Field Dynamics and the Development of the Cerebral Cortex

J.J. Wright1, Paul Bourke2

ICCN2013 (The 4th International Conference on Cognitive Neurodynamics). June 2013.

1 Department of Psychological Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
2 iVEC@UWA, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia


As neuron precursors divide and generate action potentials, they concurrently undergo apoptosis. We propose that the ensemble on neurons competitively selected is that which generates the maximum synchrony of action potentials. Consequently, local intracortical neurons and patchy connections emerge in “ultra-small” world configurations, forming clearly defined macrocolumns and patch connections in hexagonal array, where patch connections have relatively long axons, and less defined structures elsewhere in the cortex. Extension of the competitive principle to local synaptic level explains antenatal organisation of response properties in primary visual cortex, including effects of stimulus orientation, angle relative to motion, length, and speed on apparent orientation preference. Postnatal Hebbian consolidation of connections leads to the mature configuration. By implication, superimposed spatio-temporal images, rather than categorical feature responses, form the substrate of cortical information processing.


Macrocolumns, Cortical patch connections, Cortical embryogenesis, Cortical apoptosis, Synchronous oscillation, Neural small worlds, V1 Organization, Cortical Visual responses, Cortical feature responses, Spatiotemporal neural images

Paper: paper.pdf