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The sustained activity seen in the oculomotor inte-Integrating with Action Potentials grator, like that shown in the figure, provides a represen-
 

Summary: Previews
3
The sustained activity seen in the oculomotor inte-Integrating with Action Potentials
grator, like that shown in the figure, provides a represen-
tation of the running integral of the burst neuron inputs.
Similar types of sustained activity have been seen in a
When we add a long list of numbers in our heads, we number of brain areas in monkeys doing tasks that re-
must keep track of the running total while performing quire short-term memory of transient stimuli (Fuster,
the individual summations. Neural circuits integrating 1995). They have been interpreted in this context as a
information must similarly retain a representation of neural correlate of working memory (Goldman-Rakic,
what has been gathered up to a given point in time, so 1994; Fuster, 1995). Therefore, the question of what sus-
that this can be augmented by further information as it tains this activity is important for understanding not only
becomes available. Integration, the task of summing and neural integrators, but potential mechanisms of short-
accumulating a series of inputs, involves both computa- term memory as well.
tion (addition) and memory (retention of the sum). Mod- An idea going back to Hebb (1949) is that a persistent
els of neural circuits performing integration suggest that response to a transient input can be generated when
the memory part of the task is the more challenging to feedback input from other neurons within an integrator
accomplish and difficult to understand. or memory circuit substitutes for the transient external
There is considerable experimental evidence support- drive (Amit, 1989). For this mechanism to work, the re-
ing the ability of neural circuits to act as integrators in current connections within the circuit must provide each

  

Source: Abbott, Laurence - Center for Neurobiology and Behavior & Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine