By GILBERT GOTTLIEB (Eds.)

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1969, 1970) indicate the A- INTRODUCTION TO BEHAVIORAL EMBRYOLOGY 31 wave (a negative potential produced in response to light) is a response limited to the receptor itself, whereas the b-wave (a positive potential which occurs later in development) corresponds to the establishment of the synaptic mechanism. In light of these findings, it is interesting that the 6-wave of the ERG of visually deprived kittens has a reduced magnitude (Ganz, Fitch, & Satterberg, 1968), suggesting some quantitative deficiency in the synaptic mechanism as a consequence of deprivation.

While there is considerable evidence that function (behavioral and neural) helps to maintain anatomical, physiological, and behavioral activities, there is some evidence that function can play a facilitative role in the formative stages of sensory maturation (evidence reviewed in Gottlieb, 1971b). Thus, most modern workers would acknowledge that function can play a facilitative as well as a maintenance role in sensory maturation. There is also some evidence, pro (Gaze, 1970) and con (Jacobson, 1971), that function can play a determinative role in the maturation of the nervous system.

In summary, the present status of the electrical field hypothesis is as follows. e. in the direction taken by the flow of current). Whether axons and dendrites respond differently to the flow of current is not known. e. preneural or nonneural) conduction (Mackie, 1970) and the electrical coupling of cells (Sheridan, 1968) in early embryonic stages suggests that the electrical field hypothesis, or some variant of it, is worthy of further investigation. ) determine the later highly specific functional interconnection of these cells in the mature neural network.

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