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Introduction to Barrel Circuitry

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Most excitatory neurons within a cortical barrel fire robustly only to deflections of the facial whisker that corresponds anatomically to that barrel, even though the thalamic input neurons fire in response to more than that one whisker.  As explained in the page links below, barrel circuitry achieves this spatial receptive field focusing, and other response transformations, by acting as a detector of thalamic firing synchrony.

Barrels of rats

What does a barrel do?

How do barrels work?

What do barrels REALLY do?