[Comp-neuro] useful models

Neil Burgess ucganlb at ucl.ac.uk
Wed Aug 13 17:30:23 CEST 2008

The example of the hippocampus makes both Randy and Jim's points for them -
and the danger of having a (falsely?) polarized debate.


Although extreme to claim it is 'solved', at least there is a model that
explains something. Marr's 1971 model (Marr is surely a good example of a
mathematician interested in biology and cognition) has driven an enormous
amount of experimental work (thereby a useful model), including recent
results consistent with its key predictions, such as attractor dynamics in
neuronal firing rates (e.g. Wills et al., Science, 308 873-6, 2005).


However, we also know very little - e.g. its still not clear whether firing
rates or firing times (or both) are key to understanding the hippocampus
(e.g. Huxter et al., Nature, 425 828-32, 2003). And, if Marr 'solved' the
hippocampus we should not have been so surprised by the finding of grid
cells in entorhinal cortex (Hafting et al., Nature, 436 801-6 2005). But we
sure were.


Best wishes,




Neil Burgess


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