A temporal structure of neuronal activity has been suggested as a potential mechanism for defining cell assemblies in the brain. This concept has recently gained support by the observation of stimulus-dependent oscillatory activity in the visual cortex of the cat. Furthermore, experimental evidence has been found showing the formation and segregation of synchronously oscillating cell assemblies in response to various stimulus conditions. In previous work, we have demonstrated that a network of neuronal oscillators coupled by synchronizing and desynchronizing delay connections can exhibit a temporal structure of responses, which closely resembles experimental observations. In this paper, we investigate the self-organization of synchronizing and desynchronizing coupling connections by local learning rules. Based on recent experimental observations, we modify synchronizing connections according to a two-threshold learning rule, involving synaptic potentiation and depression. This rule is generalized to its functional inverse for weight changes of desynchronizing connections. We show that after training, the resulting network exhibits stimulus-dependent formation and segregation of oscillatory assemblies in agreement with the experimental data. These results indicate that local learning rules during ontogenesis can suffice to develop a connectivity pattern in support of the observed temporal structure of stimulus responses in cat visual cortex.

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