Self-organization is a fundamental property of complex systems, describing the order spontaneously arising by the local interactions of the system components not mediated by top-down inputs. Though, self-organizing systems typically possess a large number of components and exhibit complex dynamics, their evolution is deterministic and governed by a small number of order parameters. This property is used here to model the self-organization of the ocular dominance columns of the striate cortex in patterns of neighboring stripes, which respond preferentially to inputs from the left or the right eye. Therefore, the Swift-Hohenberg equation was used which depends on two order parameters. The first one determines the spatial wavelength λ of the stripes and the second one the branchiness є of the pattern. This simple model suffices to study the basic properties of ocular dominance self-organization. Possibly, a combination with models for self-organization in neighboring cortical layers would allow investigating higher organizational principles of the cortex, e.g. the coordination between ocular dominance, orientation, and cytochrome oxidase.
Read the peer-reviewed publication(s):
Craddock, R. C., Bellec, P., Margules, D. S., Nichols, B. N., Pfannmöller, J. P., Badhwar, A., … Cipollini, B. (2016). 2015 Brainhack Proceedings. GigaScience, 5(S1), 1–26. doi:10.1186/s13742-016-0147-0