The Role of Chemical Mechanisms in Neural Computation and Learning

Unknown author (1995-05-23)

Most computational models of neurons assume that their electrical characteristics are of paramount importance. However, all long-term changes in synaptic efficacy, as well as many short-term effects, are mediated by chemical mechanisms. This technical report explores the interaction between electrical and chemical mechanisms in neural learning and development. Two neural systems that exemplify this interaction are described and modelled. The first is the mechanisms underlying habituation, sensitization, and associative learning in the gill withdrawal reflex circuit in Aplysia, a marine snail. The second is the formation of retinotopic projections in the early visual pathway during embryonic development.