Groups of neurons firing synchronously are hypothesized to underlie many cognitive functions such as attention, associative learning, memory, and sensory selection. Recent theories suggest that transient periods of synchronization and desynchronization provide a mechanism for dynamically integrating and forming coalitions of functionally related neural areas, and that at these times conditions are optimal for information transfer. Oscillating neural populations display a great amount of spectral complexity, with several rhythms temporally coexisting in different structures and interacting with each other. This paper explores inter-band frequency modulation between neural oscillators using models of quadratic integrate-and-fire neurons and Hodgkin-Huxley neurons. We vary the structural connectivity in a network of neural oscillators, assess the spectral complexity, and correlate the inter-band frequency modulation. We contrast this correlation against measures of metastable coalition entropy and synchrony. Our results show that oscillations in different neural populations modulate each other so as to change frequency, and that the interaction of these fluctuating frequencies in the network as a whole is able to drive different neural populations towards episodes of synchrony. Further to this, we locate an area in the connectivity space in which the system directs itself in this way so as to explore a large repertoire of synchronous coalitions. We suggest that such dynamics facilitate versatile exploration, integration, and communication between functionally related neural areas, and thereby supports sophisticated cognitive processing in the brain.
Via Ashish Umre