22.03.11 - Do we have innate knowledge? Neuroscientists working on Blue Brain Project at EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) are finding proof that this is the case. They’ve discovered that neurons make connections independently of a subject’s experience. Their results have been published in an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
We have known for a long time that neuronal circuits become established and get reinforced via experience – it’s a phenomenon known as “synaptic plasticity.” For example, this is how memories become anchored in the brain. The team working on the Blue Brain Project at EPFL, led by Professor Henry Markram, however, is offering radically new evidence that this may not be the whole story. The researchers were able to demonstrate that small clusters of pyramidal neurons in the neocortex interconnect according to a set of immutable and relatively simple rules. They published their discovery in an article that appeared in the last issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.