Past models of somatosensory cortex have successfully demonstrated map formation and subsequent map reorganization following localized repetitive stimuli or deafferentation. They provide an impressive demonstration that fairly simple assumptions about cortical connectivity and synaptic plasticity can account for several observations concerning cortical maps. However, past models have not successfully demonstrated spontaneous map reorganization following cortical lesions. Recently, an assumption universally used in these and other cortex models, that peristimulus inhibition is due solely to horizontal intracortical inhibitory connections, has been questioned and an additional mechanism, the competitive distribution of activity, has been proposed. We implemented a computational model of somatosensory cortex based on competitive distribution of activity. This model exhibits spontaneous map reorganization in response to a cortical lesion, going through a two-phase reorganization process. These results make a testable prediction that can be used to experimentally support or refute part of the competitive distribution hypothesis, and may lead to practically useful computational models of recovery following stroke.

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