Many neurons of the central nervous system are broadly tuned to some sensory or motor variables. This property allows one to assign to each neuron a preferred attribute (PA). The width of tuning curves and the distribution of PAs in a population of neurons tuned to a given variable define the collective behavior of the population. In this article, we study the relationship of the nature of the tuning curves, the distribution of PAs, and computational properties of linear neuronal populations. We show that noise-resistant distributed linear algebraic processing and learning can be implemented by a population of cosine tuned neurons assuming a nonuniform but regular distribution of PAs. We extend these results analytically to the noncosine tuning and uniform distribution case and show with a numerical simulation that the results remain valid for a nonuniform regular distribution of PAs for broad noncosine tuning curves. These observations provide a theoretical basis for modeling general nonlinear sensorimotor transformations as sets of local linearized representations.

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