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Chasing the cell assembly

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Wallace, D. J., & Kerr, J. N. (2010). Chasing the cell assembly. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 20(3), 296-305.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0028-64AF-8
Although we know enormous amounts of detailed information about the neurons that make up the cortex, placing this information back into the context of the behaving animal is a serious challenge. The functional cell assembly hypothesis first described by Hebb (The Organization of Behavior; a Neuropsychological Theory. New York: Wiley; 1949) aimed to provide a mechanistic explanation of how groups of neurons, acting together, form a percept. The vast number of neurons potentially involved make testing this hypothesis exceedingly difficult as neither the number nor locations of assembly members are known. Although increasing the number of neurons from which simultaneous recordings are made is of benefit, providing evidence for or against a hypothesis like Hebb's requires more than this. In this review, we aim to outline some recent technical advances, which may light the way in the chase for the functional cell assembly.