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Extra info for Pattern Formation in the Physical and Biological Sciences (Santa Fe Institute Studies in the Sciences of Complexity, Lecture Notes, Vol 5)
An important innovation is the inclusion of a subcortical layer of relay cells which both project to the cortical network and receive connections back from the cortical network. Such multilayer networks with reentrant connections offer the possibility of richer network dynamics. In fact, Grajski and Merzenich found that they could obtain similar results with a reduced two-layer network. The model makes use of two types of normalization. , from the same type of cell in the same network). Second, and more importantly, the total synaptic strength of each cell is normalized to a constant value.
Pettet and Gilbert reported that in cat cortex, there was a 5-fold expansion of receptive fields located within the scotoma region. This expansion was immediately reversible when the scotoma region was stimulated. More recently, Freeman and colleagues8 used reverse-correlation techniques to precisely determine receptive field changes during conditioning with similar artificial scotoma. They reported that many cells show no change in receptive field properties, and those that do change appear to have undergone a change in response gain.
Thus, we encounter the nature versus nurture problem: a stupid start leads you nowhere. Much better results are obtained when rather unspecific bits of information are supplied. An example is the information that a successful machine probably possesses more forward than backward or lateral connections; another concerns the likely predominance of inhibitation, that is, negative connections. If we build our random initial population such that these conditions are statistically satisfied, the first useful machines emerge.