The spatial organization of cortical axon and dendritic fields could be an interesting structural paradigm to obtain a functional specificity with out postulating highly specific feedforward connections. In this article, we investigate the functional implications of recurrent intracortical inhibition when it occurs through clustered medium-range interconnection schemes (Wörgötter & Koch, 1991; Somogyi, 1989; Kritzer, Cowey, & Somogyi, 1992). Moreover, the interaction between the inhibitory schemes and visual orientation maps is explored. Assuming linearity, we show that clustered inhibitory mechanisms can trigger a propagation process that allows the development of extra (i.e., induced) interactions among the cortical sites involved in the recurrent loops. In addition, we point out how these interactions functionally modify the response of cortical simple cells and yield to highly structured Gabor-like receptive fields. This study should be considered not as a realistic biological model of the primary visual cortex but as an attempt to explain possible computational principles related to intracortical connectivity and to the underlying single-cell properties.

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