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Localized Activation in Cerebral Cortex. Causes?

Ashley Aitken ashley at spectrum.cs.unsw.oz.au
Thu Oct 31 16:42:46 EST 1991

I am wondering what is the cause of localized activity in the cerebral cortex.
My question is sparked by some lovely pictures on the cover of the book "Mapp-
ing the Brain and its Functions" written by the Institute of Medicine. 

These pictures show localized activity in the cortex for such tasks as hearing
seeing speaking and generating words. It is quite amazing to see such specific
areas lighting up [of course, none of this is too new].

What I am enquiring about is how do these sites become active (or more perhaps
correctly more active than the others)?

	Is this activity driven by the signals coming in?

	Is there competition in the cortex for this sort of activity?

	Are these signals gated by lower brain regions (ie thalamus or lower)?

Personally I am more inclined to believe that it is controlled by some lower
brain structures - perhaps by gating the information or by setting some sort
of activation thresholds.

Any comments, ideas, references?

Thanks in Advance,
Ashley Aitken.

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