How can the brain quickly learn to categorize information from the world and remember it without massive amounts of forgetting? A self-organizing map is intriguing, but cannot solve the problem because it erodes when exposes to dense nonstationary inputs. Adaptive Resonance Theory (ART) may be able to match top-down feature patterns to bottom up feature patterns, while explaining data about biased competition. If the match is good enough, then it forms an attentional focus. Stephen Grossberg discussed these issues and how ART relate to hippocampal place cells in a fascinating letter to the editor early this week.
Grossberg S. 2009 Beta Oscillations and Hippocampal Place Cell Learning During Exploration of Novel Environments. 10.1002/hipo.20602