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Chaos. 2003 Sep;13(3):1057-66.

A challenge to chaotic itinerancy from brain dynamics.

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Department of Psychology and Institute for Mind & Biology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Brain hermeneutics and chaotic itinerancy proposed by Tsuda are attractive characterizations of perceptual dynamics in the mammalian olfactory system. This theory proposes that perception occurs at the interface between itinerant neural representation and interaction with the environment. Quantifiable application of these dynamics has been hampered by the lack of definable history and action processes which characterize the changes induced by behavioral state, attention, and learning. Local field potentials measured from several brain areas were used to characterize dynamic activity patterns for their use as representations of history and action processes. The signals were recorded from olfactory areas (olfactory bulb, OB, and pyriform cortex) and hippocampal areas (entorhinal cortex and dentate gyrus, DG) in the brains of rats. During odor-guided behavior the system shows dynamics at three temporal scales. Short time-scale changes are system-wide and can occur in the space of a single sniff. They are predictable, associated with learned shifts in behavioral state and occur periodically on the scale of the intertrial interval. These changes occupy the theta (2-12 Hz), beta (15-30 Hz), and gamma (40-100 Hz) frequency bands within and between all areas. Medium time-scale changes occur relatively unpredictably, manifesting in these data as alterations in connection strength between the OB and DG. These changes are strongly correlated with performance in associated trial blocks (5-10 min) and may be due to fluctuations in attention, mood, or amount of reward received. Long time-scale changes are likely related to learning or decline due to aging or disease. These may be modeled as slow monotonic processes that occur within or across days or even weeks or years. The folding of different time scales is proposed as a mechanism for chaotic itinerancy, represented by dynamic processes instead of static connection strengths. Thus, the individual maintains continuity of experience within the stability of fast periodic and slow monotonic processes, while medium scale events alter experience and performance dramatically but temporarily. These processes together with as yet to be determined action effects from motor system feedback are proposed as an instantiation of brain hermeneutics and chaotic itinerancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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