Send to

Choose Destination
Cereb Cortex. 2018 Feb 3. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhy001. [Epub ahead of print]

Training and Spontaneous Reinforcement of Neuronal Assemblies by Spike Timing Plasticity.

Ocker GK1,2,3, Doiron B2,4.

Author information

Department of Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.
Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.
Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.
Department of Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.


The synaptic connectivity of cortex is plastic, with experience shaping the ongoing interactions between neurons. Theoretical studies of spike timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) have focused on either just pairs of neurons or large-scale simulations. A simple analytic account for how fast spike time correlations affect both microscopic and macroscopic network structure is lacking. We develop a low-dimensional mean field theory for STDP in recurrent networks and show the emergence of assemblies of strongly coupled neurons with shared stimulus preferences. After training, this connectivity is actively reinforced by spike train correlations during the spontaneous dynamics. Furthermore, the stimulus coding by cell assemblies is actively maintained by these internally generated spiking correlations, suggesting a new role for noise correlations in neural coding. Assembly formation has often been associated with firing rate-based plasticity schemes; our theory provides an alternative and complementary framework, where fine temporal correlations and STDP form and actively maintain learned structure in cortical networks.


cell assembly; neural coding; noise correlation; spike timing; synaptic plasticity


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center