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The Blue Brain project led by Henry Markram focused on simulating cortical columns under the idea they form basic processing units of the brain/cognitive function.

What functional purpose does a cortical column serve?

I am looking for (synapses) of mathematical, conceptual, & scientific models. What is a leading theory, what is the evidence for it, etc?

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Vernon Mountcastle was instrumental in the discovery of the cortical column. I will elaborate a bit more later, but some of his older papers are probably freely available online. – Chuck Sherrington Feb 13 '14 at 23:47
How about starting with ? – H.Muster Feb 14 '14 at 7:44
@H.Muster I was actually going to make the same comment, but I was surprised by how uninformative that wikipedia article and the discussion here were. In general, a quick Google search doesn't reveal an obvious definitive resource, either. Hence, it might be good to provide a canonical answer here if jonsca has time. Of course, I do wish that the OP would focus the question more, since it is pretty vague. – Artem Kaznatcheev Feb 14 '14 at 17:35
Here's an example of a much better focused question on bio.SE. – Artem Kaznatcheev Feb 14 '14 at 17:38
the other question seems to be focused on mere anatomy – vzn Feb 14 '14 at 17:58
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I have worked with the theory that the column is the binary unit involved in all cortical processing and memory for many years. Articles are available at my profile page (Robert Moss) at and The first article was published in 2006 with an update in 2012. I have published several non-peer-reviewed, more easily understandable articles that are also posted at those sites. One major paper has been recently published that explains the possible microcircuitry of dynamically formed columns.

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thx can you post a ref for a single survey article to start with – vzn May 9 '14 at 14:59
Link-only answers are discouraged on CogSci.SE. Would you mind providing quick summaries of the evidence and conclusions of the papers you link to? – Seanny123 Jan 12 at 19:30
I don't believe a link to one researcher's largely not peer reviewed and certainly not largely accepted answer does not constitute a proper answer. – jona Jan 13 at 18:48

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