Annual Review of Neuroscience

Vol. 27:419-451 (Volume publication date 21 July 2004)


▪ Abstract We explore the extent to which neocortical circuits generalize, i.e., to what extent can neocortical neurons and the circuits they form be considered as canonical? We find that, as has long been suspected by cortical neuroanatomists, the same basic laminar and tangential organization of the excitatory neurons of the neocortex is evident wherever it has been sought. Similarly, the inhibitory neurons show characteristic morphology and patterns of connections throughout the neocortex. We offer a simple model of cortical processing that is consistent with the major features of cortical circuits: The superficial layer neurons within local patches of cortex, and within areas, cooperate to explore all possible interpretations of different cortical input and cooperatively select an interpretation consistent with their various cortical and subcortical inputs.