Linsker has reported the development of center-surround receptive fields and oriented receptive fields in simulations of a Hebb-type equation in a linear network. The dynamics of the learning rule are analyzed in terms of the eigenvectors of the covariance matrix of cell activities. Analytic and computational results for Linsker's covariance matrices, and some general theorems, lead to an explanation of the emergence of center-surround and certain oriented structures. We estimate criteria for the parameter regime in which center-surround structures emerge.

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