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Book Chapter

Functional architecture of the cerebral cortex


Oberlaender,  Marcel
Max Planck Research Group In Silico Brain Sciences, Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (caesar), Max Planck Society;

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Leopold, D. A., Strick, P. L., Bassett, D. S., Bruno, R. M., Cuntz, H., Harris, K. M., et al. (2019). Functional architecture of the cerebral cortex. In W. Singer (Ed.), The Neocortex (pp. 141-164). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-7860-8
Recent research in the neurosciences has revealed a wealth of new information about the structural organization and physiological operation of the cerebral cortex. These details span vast spatial scales and range from the expression, arrangement, and interac- tion of molecular gene products at the synapse to the organization of computational net- works across the whole brain. This chapter highlights recent discoveries that have laid bare important aspects of the brain’s functional architecture. It begins by describing the dynamic and contingent arrangement of subcellular elements in synaptic connections. Amid this complexity, several common neural circuit motifs, identified across multiple species and preparations, shape the electrophysiological signaling in the cortex. It then turns to the topic of network organization, spurred by routine capacity for noninvasive MRI in humans, where interdisciplinary tools are lending new insights into large-scale principles of brain organization. Discussion follows on one of the most important aspects of brain architecture; namely, the plasticity that affords an animal flexible behav- ior. In closing, reflections are put forth on the nature of the brain’s complexity, and how its biological details might be best captured in computational models in the future.