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Wednesday, July 22 • 3:35pm - 4:05pm
W3 S8: The Magic of Neocortex: Pyramidal Cells that are Context-Sensitive Two-Point Processors as Seen by Three-Way Mutual Information Decomposition

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Assuming life to be organised complexity the theory of coherent infomax specifies the objective of hierarchical abstraction in neocortex as maximising transmission of coherent information and minimising transmission of irrelevant information. This is shown to be possible in networks of local processors with receptive fields (RFs) that convey the information to be processed and contextual fields (CFs) that specify the context within which it is to be processed. A two-point activation function uses CF input to modulate transmission of information about integrated RF input. Learning rules for the RF and CF synapses derived analytically from that objective are a refined version of the BCM rule (Bull. Math. Biol. 2011, 73, 344-372). Many neocortical pyramidal cells can operate as two-point processors in which apical input functions as a contextual modulator. Contextual modulation can be quantified using three-way mutual information decomposition. It is distinct from all four elementary arithmetic operators, and has two key distinctive properties: asymmetry between the effects of RFs and CFs, with RFs being dominant; and increasing then decreasing amounts of synergy with increases in RF strength. Decompositions of the output of a multicompartmental model of a layer 5b pyramidal cell confirms identification of contextual modulation with apical input (Symmetry 2020, doi:10.3390/sym12050815). These findings have far-reaching implications for mental life (Neurosci. Consc. 2016, doi.org/10.1093/nc/niw015; Brain and Cognition 2017, 112, 39–53).


Bill Phillips

Emeritus Professor, University of Stirling

Wednesday July 22, 2020 3:35pm - 4:05pm CEST
Crowdcast (W03)