Monocular deprivation experiments can be used to distinguish between different ideas concerning properties of cortical synaptic plasticity. Monocular deprivation by lid suture causes a rapid disconnection of the deprived eye connected to cortical neurons whereas total inactivation of the deprived eye produces much less of an ocular dominance shift. In order to understand these results one needs to know how lid suture and retinal inactivation affect neurons in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) that provide the cortical input. Recent experimental results by Linden et al. showed that monocular lid suture and monocular inactivation do not change the mean firing rates of LGN neurons but that lid suture reduces correlations between adjacent neurons whereas monocular inactivation leads to correlated firing. These, somewhat surprising, results contradict assumptions that have been made to explain the outcomes of different monocular deprivation protocols. Based on these experimental results we modify our assumptions about inputs to cortex during different deprivation protocols and show their implications when combined with different cortical plasticity rules. Using theoretical analysis, random matrix theory and simulations we show that high levels of correlations reduce the ocular dominance shift in learning rules that depend on homosynaptic depression (i.e., Bienenstock-Cooper-Munro type rules), consistent with experimental results, but have the opposite effect in rules that depend on heterosynaptic depression (i.e., Hebbian/principal component analysis type rules).
- Received 4 May 2009
- Revised 13 November 2009
- Published 21 December 2009
© 2009 The American Physical Society