Chapter

Interactions between Intrinsic and Stimulus-Evoked Activity in Recurrent Neural Networks

Larry F. Abbott, Kanaka Rajan and Haim Sompolinsky

in The Dynamic Brain

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780195393798
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897049 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393798.003.0004
Interactions between Intrinsic and Stimulus-Evoked Activity in Recurrent Neural Networks

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The central nervous system generates most of its activity internally, yet it remains supremely sensitive to external influences. Ongoing, spontaneous neural activity is comparable in magnitude and complexity to activity evoked by sensory stimuli. How then are stimulus-evoked responses extracted from ongoing background activity to identify real features of the external world? On the basis of both simulations and mathematical analysis of a model that produces complex patterns of activity spontaneously, we argue that sensory-evoked responses actively suppress ongoing intrinsically generated fluctuations. Because of this suppression, trial-to-trial variability of neural responses can be more sensitive to properties of a stimulus, such as its amplitude and frequency, than the mean responses that are typically the focus of electrophysiological studies.

Keywords: networks; variability; spontaneous activity; noise suppression; chaos

Chapter.  6515 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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