Functional development of the cortex

David J. Price and David J. Willshaw

in Mechanisms of Cortical Development

Published in print April 2000 | ISBN: 9780192624277
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723735 | DOI:

Series: Monographs of the Physiological Society

Functional development of the cortex

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During functional development of the cerebral cortex, the functional properties of the cortex and its neurons can be measured as it develops. Essentially, this approach provides one way of observing development, and the analysis can be done at the level of single cells or any higher level up to that of the entire structure. The functional methods that have been applied to the growing cortex have provided some insight into the mechanisms which may regulate cortical development, although their explanatory power is limited. This chapter examines the development of the functional attributes of individual cortical cells in the sensory system, particularly the visual system. The properties of receptive fields in sensory cortex are discussed, along with the development of receptive field properties in the visual cortex, the control of receptive field development, experimental methodologies used in investigating the functional development of the cortex as a whole, acquisition of the highest levels of cortical function, and effects of lesions on development of cortical function in humans.

Keywords: cerebral cortex; functional development; cortical development; cortical cells; sensory cortex; receptive fields; lesions; cortical function

Chapter.  7194 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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