What can we learn from synaptic weight distributions?


Journal Article (Review)

Much research effort into synaptic plasticity has been motivated by the idea that modifications of synaptic weights (or strengths or efficacies) underlie learning and memory. Here, we examine the possibility of exploiting the statistics of experimentally measured synaptic weights to deduce information about the learning process. Analysing distributions of synaptic weights requires a theoretical framework to interpret the experimental measurements, but the results can be unexpectedly powerful, yielding strong constraints on possible learning theories as well as information that is difficult to obtain by other means, such as the information storage capacity of a cell. We review the available experimental and theoretical techniques as well as important open issues.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Barbour, B; Brunel, N; Hakim, V; Nadal, J-P

Published Date

  • December 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 30 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 622 - 629

PubMed ID

  • 17983670

Pubmed Central ID

  • 17983670

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0166-2236

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.tins.2007.09.005


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England