Explaining synchrony in feedforward networks: Are McCulloch-Pitts neurons good enough ?

Comments: 4 pages, 6 figures


In any scientific theory the conceptual framework already determines the nature and possible scope of the results. Over-simplification prevents an adequate description of the system whereas too detailed description obscures the fundamental principles behind the observed phenomena in addition to misspending time and resources. In theoretical neuroscience this is an important issue because the description level varies widely from detailed biophysical descriptions to abstract computational models. We discuss the question of the appropriate modeling level in the context of a recent report on synchrony in iteratively constructed feed-forward networks of rat cortex pyramidal neuron somata [A. Reyes, Synchrony-dependent propagation of firing rate in iteratively constructed networks in vitro. Nature Neurosci., 6:593-599 (2003)].