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Biol Cybern. 2009 Jul;101(1):43-7. doi: 10.1007/s00422-009-0314-9. Epub 2009 May 1.

Activity patterns in networks stabilized by background oscillations.

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Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, NY 10012, USA.


The brain operates in a highly oscillatory environment. We investigate here how such an oscillating background can create stable organized behavior in an array of neuro-oscillators that is not observable in the absence of oscillation, much like oscillating the support point of an inverted pendulum can stabilize its up position, which is unstable without the oscillation. We test this idea in an array of electronic circuits coming from neuroengineering: we show how the frequencies of the background oscillation create a partition of the state space into distinct basins of attraction. Thus, background signals can stabilize persistent activity that is otherwise not observable. This suggests that an image, represented as a stable firing pattern which is triggered by a voltage pulse and is sustained in synchrony or resonance with the background oscillation, can persist as a stable behavior long after the initial stimulus is removed. The background oscillations provide energy for organized behavior in the array, and these behaviors are categorized by the basins of attraction determined by the oscillation frequencies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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