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Cogn Neurodyn. 2007 Mar; 1(1): 39–51.
Published online 2006 Dec 15. doi:  10.1007/s11571-006-9006-5
PMCID: PMC2288955

Robust emergence of small-world structure in networks of spiking neurons


Spontaneous activity in biological neural networks shows patterns of dynamic synchronization. We propose that these patterns support the formation of a small-world structure—network connectivity optimal for distributed information processing. We present numerical simulations with connected Hindmarsh–Rose neurons in which, starting from random connection distributions, small-world networks evolve as a result of applying an adaptive rewiring rule. The rule connects pairs of neurons that tend fire in synchrony, and disconnects ones that fail to synchronize. Repeated application of the rule leads to small-world structures. This mechanism is robustly observed for bursting and irregular firing regimes.

Keywords: Self-organization, Spiking neuron, Modularity, Neural network


The authors like to thank Dr Pulin Gong and the three anonymous reviewers for valuable advice and comments.


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