A Theoretical Analysis of the Influence of Fixational Instability on the Development of Thalamocortical Connectivity
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Under natural viewing conditions, the physiological inotability of visual fixation keeps the projection of the stimulus on the retina in constant motion. After eye opening, chronic exposure to a constantly moving retinal image might influence the experience-dependent refinement of cell response characteristics. The results of previous modeling studies have suggested a contribution of fixational instability in the Hebbian maturation of the receptive fields of V1 simple cells (Rucci, Edelman, & Wray, 2000; Rucci & Casile, 2004). This paper presents a mathematieal explanation of our previous computational results. Using quasi-linear models of LGN units and V1 simple cells, we derive analytical expressions for the second-order statistics of thalamocortical activity before and after eye opening. We show that in the presence of natural stimulation, fixational instability introduces a spatially uncorrelated signal in the retinal input, whieh strongly influences the structure of correlated activity in the model.