A Theory of the Striatum
- J.R. Wickens, Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, Otago University Medical School, Dunedin, New Zealand
The striatum has been implicated in a number of neurological and psychiatric diseases. It has received considerable attention from pharmacologists, neuroanatomists, neuropathologists, and electrophysiologists. However, until now no comprehensive theory of the striatum has emerged. This book is a serious attempt at such a theory. The first part of is concerned with an analysis of evidence from anatomical, behavioural, clinical and pharmacological studies of the striatum. After a brief introduction to the methods of theoretical neuroscience, the experimental evidence on the role of the striatum in behaviour and learning is reviewed. This is followed by an analysis of the evidence on the internal connectivity of the striatum, and the input and output organization. This first part ends with a review of synaptic modification as the basis of learning. The second part is devoted to formalizing the model developed in the previous chapters. Computer simulation is used to study the short-term dynamic behaviour of the model, and the long-term structural evolution during learning. Finally, the ideas developed through literature review and computer simulation are applied to the question of the contribution of the striatum to the operation of cell assemblies in the cerebral cortex.
For established neurobiologists working in the basal ganglia area, in neuroanatomy, neuropathology, neurophysiology, and behavioural psychology, as well as advanced undergraduates and postgraduates in these areas, and also for computer scientists, modellers and neural network people interested in building more realistic models of the brain.