Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Target Article

The Hebbian paradigm reintegrated: Local reverberations as internal representations

Daniel J. Amita1

a1 Racah Institute of Physics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem; Instituto di Fisica, Universita di Roma, Rome, Italy. Electronic mail:


The neurophysiological evidence from the Miyashita group's experiments on monkeys as well as cognitive experience common to us all suggests that local neuronal spike rate distributions might persist in the absence of their eliciting stimulus. In Hebb's cell-assembly theory, learning dynamics stabilize such self-maintaining reverberations. Quasi-quantitive modeling of the experimental data on internal representations in association-cortex modules identifies the reverberations (delay spike activity) as the internal code (representation). This leads to cognitive and neurophysiological predictions, many following directly from the language used to describe the activity in the experimental delay period, others from the details of how the model captures the properties of the internal representations.