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Rhythms of the Brain$
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György Buzsáki

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195301069

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195301069.001.0001

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Tough Problems

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(p.357) Cycle 13 Tough Problems
Rhythms of the Brain

Buzsáki György

Oxford University Press

At least three basic architectural schemes are present in mammalian brains. The simplest, typified by the cerebellum, uses strictly local wiring in which a few neuronal types form individual “modules” that may be repeated as necessary. Because interaction between modules is restricted to neighbors, it is massively parallel in nature. A different type of network uses random connections. The third architectural scheme, exemplified by the neocortex, combines local modularity with more random, long-range connectivity. In cortical networks, a dynamic balance between excitation and inhibition gives rise to an array of network oscillations. This self-organized, or “spontaneous,” activity gives rise to the appearance of “noise” in an electroencephalogram, which reflects a metastable state. Because local computation can be sensed by large parts of the cortex through long-range connections, and is also modified by this background “noise,” the term “local-global computation” best captures the nature of cortical operations.

Keywords:   consciousness, integration, differentiation, self-organized activity, regenerative feedback, persistent activity, local-global interaction

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