Send to

Choose Destination
Commun Biol. 2019 Aug 23;2:319. doi: 10.1038/s42003-019-0555-7. eCollection 2019.

Dynamical modeling of multi-scale variability in neuronal competition.

Author information

Mathematical Biology Section, Laboratory of Biological Modeling, National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD USA.


Variability is observed at multiple-scales in the brain and ubiquitous in perception. However, the nature of perceptual variability is an open question. We focus on variability during perceptual rivalry, a form of neuronal competition. Rivalry provides a window into neural processing since activity in many brain areas is correlated to the alternating perception rather than a constant ambiguous stimulus. It exhibits robust properties at multiple scales including conscious awareness and neuron dynamics. The prevalent theory for spiking variability is called the balanced state; whereas, the source of perceptual variability is unknown. Here we show that a single biophysical circuit model, satisfying certain mutual inhibition architectures, can explain spiking and perceptual variability during rivalry. These models adhere to a broad set of strict experimental constraints at multiple scales. As we show, the models predict how spiking and perceptual variability changes with stimulus conditions.


Biophysical models; Computational biophysics; Perception

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsThe authors declare no competing interests.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center