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Cortex and MindUnifying Cognition$
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Joaquín M. Fuster

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195300840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195300840.001.0001

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Neurobiology of Cortical Networks

Neurobiology of Cortical Networks

(p.17) 2 Neurobiology of Cortical Networks
Cortex and Mind

Joaquín M. Fuster

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with the neurobiology of cortical networks, the postulated substrate of all cognitive functions. It examines the ontogeny and phylogeny of the cerebral cortex, although the two are inextricably related. Much has been inferred about the evolution of the cortex from its development in the individual organism. Conversely, certain principles of natural selection at the core of evolution theory have been deftly applied to current reasoning on the development of neocortical structure and function. A persuasive line of reasoning is emerging on the interplay of genetic factors with neural activity and individual experience in the development of the neocortex. Nowhere is that line of reasoning more relevant to cognition than on the issue of conical connectivity and its constituents, the synapses, axons, and dendrites that bind neocortical neurons into cognitive networks. This chapter discusses the evolution and ontogenetic development of the cortex, the principles of network formation, the role of extracortical factors in that process, and the general structural characteristics of cognitive networks.

Keywords:   neurobiology, cortical networks, cerebral cortex, cognition, ontogeny, phylogeny, neocortex, evolution, extracortical factors

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