73 research outputs found

    Coexistence of critical sensitivity and subcritical specificity can yield optimal population coding

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    The vicinity of phase transitions selectively amplifies weak stimuli, yielding optimal sensitivity to distinguish external input. Along with this enhanced sensitivity, enhanced levels of fluctuations at criticality reduce the specificity of the response. Given that the specificity of the response is largely compromised when the sensitivity is maximal, the overall benefit of criticality for signal processing remains questionable. Here it is shown that this impasse can be solved by heterogeneous systems incorporating functional diversity, in which critical and subcritical components coexist. The subnetwork of critical elements has optimal sensitivity, and the subnetwork of subcritical elements has enhanced specificity. Combining segregated features extracted from the different subgroups, the resulting collective response can maximise the tradeoff between sensitivity and specificity measured by the dynamic-range-to-noise-ratio. Although numerous benefits can be observed when the entire system is critical, our results highlight that optimal performance is obtained when only a small subset of the system is at criticality.Comment: 7 pages, 4 figure

    Diversity improves performance in excitable networks

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    As few real systems comprise indistinguishable units, diversity is a hallmark of nature. Diversity among interacting units shapes properties of collective behavior such as synchronization and information transmission. However, the benefits of diversity on information processing at the edge of a phase transition, ordinarily assumed to emerge from identical elements, remain largely unexplored. Analyzing a general model of excitable systems with heterogeneous excitability, we find that diversity can greatly enhance optimal performance (by two orders of magnitude) when distinguishing incoming inputs. Heterogeneous systems possess a subset of specialized elements whose capability greatly exceeds that of the nonspecialized elements. Nonetheless, the behavior of the whole network can outperform all subgroups. We also find that diversity can yield multiple percolation, with performance optimized at tricriticality. Our results are robust in specific and more realistic neuronal systems comprising a combination of excitatory and inhibitory units, and indicate that diversity-induced amplification can be harnessed by neuronal systems for evaluating stimulus intensities.Comment: 17 pages, 7 figure

    Mechanisms of Zero-Lag Synchronization in Cortical Motifs

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    Zero-lag synchronization between distant cortical areas has been observed in a diversity of experimental data sets and between many different regions of the brain. Several computational mechanisms have been proposed to account for such isochronous synchronization in the presence of long conduction delays: Of these, the phenomenon of "dynamical relaying" - a mechanism that relies on a specific network motif - has proven to be the most robust with respect to parameter mismatch and system noise. Surprisingly, despite a contrary belief in the community, the common driving motif is an unreliable means of establishing zero-lag synchrony. Although dynamical relaying has been validated in empirical and computational studies, the deeper dynamical mechanisms and comparison to dynamics on other motifs is lacking. By systematically comparing synchronization on a variety of small motifs, we establish that the presence of a single reciprocally connected pair - a "resonance pair" - plays a crucial role in disambiguating those motifs that foster zero-lag synchrony in the presence of conduction delays (such as dynamical relaying) from those that do not (such as the common driving triad). Remarkably, minor structural changes to the common driving motif that incorporate a reciprocal pair recover robust zero-lag synchrony. The findings are observed in computational models of spiking neurons, populations of spiking neurons and neural mass models, and arise whether the oscillatory systems are periodic, chaotic, noise-free or driven by stochastic inputs. The influence of the resonance pair is also robust to parameter mismatch and asymmetrical time delays amongst the elements of the motif. We call this manner of facilitating zero-lag synchrony resonance-induced synchronization, outline the conditions for its occurrence, and propose that it may be a general mechanism to promote zero-lag synchrony in the brain.Comment: 41 pages, 12 figures, and 11 supplementary figure

    Estimating the impact of structural directionality: How reliable are undirected connectomes?

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    Directionality is a fundamental feature of network connections. Most structural brain networks are intrinsically directed because of the nature of chemical synapses, which comprise most neuronal connections. Due to limitations of non-invasive imaging techniques, the directionality of connections between structurally connected regions of the human brain cannot be confirmed. Hence, connections are represented as undirected, and it is still unknown how this lack of directionality affects brain network topology. Using six directed brain networks from different species and parcellations (cat, mouse, C. elegans, and three macaque networks), we estimate the inaccuracies in network measures (degree, betweenness, clustering coefficient, path length, global efficiency, participation index, and small worldness) associated with the removal of the directionality of connections. We employ three different methods to render directed brain networks undirected: (i) remove uni-directional connections, (ii) add reciprocal connections, and (iii) combine equal numbers of removed and added uni-directional connections. We quantify the extent of inaccuracy in network measures introduced through neglecting connection directionality for individual nodes and across the network. We find that the coarse division between core and peripheral nodes remains accurate for undirected networks. However, hub nodes differ considerably when directionality is neglected. Comparing the different methods to generate undirected networks from directed ones, we generally find that the addition of reciprocal connections (false positives) causes larger errors in graph-theoretic measures than the removal of the same number of directed connections (false negatives). These findings suggest that directionality plays an essential role in shaping brain networks and highlight some limitations of undirected connectomes.Comment: 29 pages, 6 figures, 9 supplementary figures, 4 supplementary table

    Tracking the distance to criticality in systems with unknown noise

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    Many real-world systems undergo abrupt changes in dynamics as they move across critical points, often with dramatic and irreversible consequences. Much of the existing theory on identifying the time-series signatures of nearby critical points -- such as increased signal variance and slower timescales -- is derived from analytically tractable systems, typically considering the case of fixed, low-amplitude noise. However, real-world systems are often corrupted by unknown levels of noise which can obscure these temporal signatures. Here we aimed to develop noise-robust indicators of the distance to criticality (DTC) for systems affected by dynamical noise in two cases: when the noise amplitude is either fixed, or is unknown and variable across recordings. We present a highly comparative approach to tackling this problem that compares the ability of over 7000 candidate time-series features to track the DTC in the vicinity of a supercritical Hopf bifurcation. Our method recapitulates existing theory in the fixed-noise case, highlighting conventional time-series features that accurately track the DTC. But in the variable-noise setting, where these conventional indicators perform poorly, we highlight new types of high-performing time-series features and show that their success is underpinned by an ability to capture the shape of the invariant density (which depends on both the DTC and the noise amplitude) relative to the spread of fast fluctuations (which depends on the noise amplitude). We introduce a new high-performing time-series statistic, termed the Rescaled Auto-Density (RAD), that distils these two algorithmic components. Our results demonstrate that large-scale algorithmic comparison can yield theoretical insights and motivate new algorithms for solving important practical problems.Comment: The main paper comprises 18 pages, with 5 figures (.pdf). The supplemental material comprises a single 4-page document with 1 figure (.pdf), as well as 3 spreadsheet files (.xls

    Dwelling Quietly in the Rich Club: Brain Network Determinants of Slow Cortical Fluctuations

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    For more than a century, cerebral cartography has been driven by investigations of structural and morphological properties of the brain across spatial scales and the temporal/functional phenomena that emerge from these underlying features. The next era of brain mapping will be driven by studies that consider both of these components of brain organization simultaneously -- elucidating their interactions and dependencies. Using this guiding principle, we explored the origin of slowly fluctuating patterns of synchronization within the topological core of brain regions known as the rich club, implicated in the regulation of mood and introspection. We find that a constellation of densely interconnected regions that constitute the rich club (including the anterior insula, amygdala, and precuneus) play a central role in promoting a stable, dynamical core of spontaneous activity in the primate cortex. The slow time scales are well matched to the regulation of internal visceral states, corresponding to the somatic correlates of mood and anxiety. In contrast, the topology of the surrounding "feeder" cortical regions show unstable, rapidly fluctuating dynamics likely crucial for fast perceptual processes. We discuss these findings in relation to psychiatric disorders and the future of connectomics.Comment: 35 pages, 6 figure

    Signal integration enhances the dynamic range in neuronal systems

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    The dynamic range measures the capacity of a system to discriminate the intensity of an external stimulus. Such an ability is fundamental for living beings to survive: to leverage resources and to avoid danger. Consequently, the larger is the dynamic range, the greater is the probability of survival. We investigate how the integration of different input signals affects the dynamic range, and in general the collective behavior of a network of excitable units. By means of numerical simulations and a mean-field approach, we explore the nonequilibrium phase transition in the presence of integration. We show that the firing rate in random and scale-free networks undergoes a discontinuous phase transition depending on both the integration time and the density of integrator units. Moreover, in the presence of external stimuli, we find that a system of excitable integrator units operating in a bistable regime largely enhances its dynamic range.Comment: 5 pages, 4 figure

    Inhibitory loop robustly induces anticipated synchronization in neuronal microcircuits

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    We investigate the synchronization properties between two excitatory coupled neurons in the presence of an inhibitory loop mediated by an interneuron. Dynamic inhibition together with noise independently applied to each neuron provide phase diversity in the dynamics of the neuronal motif. We show that the interplay between the coupling strengths and the external noise controls the phase relations between the neurons in a counterintuitive way. For a master-slave configuration (unidirectional coupling) we find that the slave can anticipate the master, on average, if the slave is subject to the inhibitory feedback. In this nonusual regime, called anticipated synchronization (AS), the phase of the postsynaptic neuron is advanced with respect to that of the presynaptic neuron. We also show that the AS regime survives even in the presence of unbalanced bidirectional excitatory coupling. Moreover, for the symmetric mutually coupled situation, the neuron that is subject to the inhibitory loop leads in phase.We gratefully acknowledge CNPq Grants No. 480053/2013-8 and No. 310712/2014-9, FACEPE Grant No. APQ-0826-1.05/15, and CAPES Grant No. PVE 88881.068077/2014-01 for financial support. This article was produced as part of the activities of FAPESP Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center for Neuromathematics (Grant No. 2013/07699-0, S.Paulo Research Foundation) and it was partially funded by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, España, through Project No. TEC2016-80063.Peer reviewe
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