Orientation and ocular dominance maps in the primary visual cortex of mammals are among the most thoroughly investigated of the patterns in the cerebral cortex. A considerable amount of work has been dedicated to unraveling both their detailed structure and the neural mechanisms that underlie their formation and development. Many schemes have been proposed, some of which are in competition. Some models focus on development of receptive fields while others focus on the structure of cortical maps, i.e., the arrangement of receptive field properties across the cortex. Each model used different means to determine its success at reproducing experimental map patterns, often relying principally on visual comparison. Experimental data are becoming available that allow a more careful evaluation of models. In this contribution more than 10 of the most prominent models of cortical map formation and structure are critically evaluated and compared with the most recent experimental findings from macaque striate cortex. Comparisons are based on properties of the predicted or measured cortical map patterns. We introduce several new measures for comparing experimental and model map data that reveal important differences between models. We expect that the use of these measures will improve current models by helping determine parameters to match model maps to experimental data now becoming available from a variety of species. Our study reveals that (1) despite apparent differences, many models are based on similar principles and consequently make similar predictions, (2) several models produce orientation map patterns that are not consistent with the experimental data from macaques, regardless of the plausibility of the models' suggested physiological implementations, and (3) no models have yet fully accounted for both the local and the global relationships between orientation and ocular dominance map patterns.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Cognitive Neuroscience