Perspectives

Indeterminate Organization of the Visual SystemOn Hierarchies: Response to Hilgetag et al.Rejoinder:FURTHER COMMENTARY: Determinate or Indeterminate Organization

Science  09 Feb 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5250, pp. 776
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5250.776

Summary

The classic view of how the brain areas that control vision are connected is a complicated wiring diagram devised by manual sorting on the basis of existing anatomical data [D. J. Felleman and D. C. Van Essen, Cereb. Cortex 1, 1 (1991)]. Now, in this issue's Enhanced Perspective, Hilgetag and co-workers have used a computer algorithm to test whether there is a better way to organize the connections. They find that the brain is surprisingly indeterminate, and that no single hierarchy can satisfactorily represent the order implied by the anatomical data.

A more detailed explanation of their analysis and a list of predictions derived from their hierarchies that will be particularly informative to test experimentally can be found on the home page of the authors.