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How multiple specialized cortical areas in the brain interact with each other to give rise to an integrated behavior is a largely unanswered question. This paper proposes that such an integration can be understood under the framework of analogy and that part of the thalamus and the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) may be playing a key role in this respect. The proposed thalamocortical model of analogy heavily depends on a diverse set of temporal parameters including axonal delay and membrane time constant, each of which is critical for the proper functioning of the model. The model requires a specific set of conditions derived from the need of the model to process analogies. Computational results with a network of integrate and fire (IF) neurons suggest that these conditions are indeed necessary, and furthermore, data found in the experimental literature also support these conditions. The model suggests that there is a very good reason for each temporal parameter in the thalamocortical network having a particular value, and that to understand the integrated behavior of the brain, we need to study these parameters simultaneously, not separately.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2004