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Research has uncovered neurons that seem to "listen" for specific inputs and fire only when these inputs are received. For example, neurons in the visual cortex may fire at a higher rate when visual stimuli of a particular orientation is presented, and may not fire for stimuli of other orientations.

Are there any good models on how neurons develop this tuning for specific inputs? Could anyone provide links to good papers or other resources?

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The only "good model" I know of is hebbian plasticity* or hebbian theory, here's a link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebbian_theory

Usually what we mean by neurons "listen for" or are "tuned for" or even "like" a particular stimulus is that spiking activity in those neurons is significantly increased (or decreased) in the presence of that stimulus as compared to equal amount of time in the absence of it.

*Plasticity refers to the capacity of the brain to change both the strength of connection as well as number and configuration of connections.

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