The association between cell assemblies and transient dynamics
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KeywordsSynaptic Plasticity Cell Assembly Neural Circuit Associative Memory Transient Dynamic
Neural systems show a wide variety of complex dynamics on different time scales. Specifically, on the short time scale of neuronal activations (milliseconds to seconds), several theoretical models (e.g., state-dependent networks or liquid state machines ) demonstrate that complex (transient) dynamics enables neural circuits to process a broad range of nonlinear problems. In other words, neural circuits process inputs to transform them into desired outputs. This approach, amongst others, is based on the inherent stochasticity (randomness) of neural systems. On the other hand, the slower mechanisms of synaptic plasticity (minutes to hours) adapt synaptic efficacies to form ordered structures as neural cell assemblies . Each cell assembly consists of a group of strongly interconnected neurons and its dynamics serves as an associative memory of the previously experienced input. This type of dynamics is in stark contrast to the needed randomness of connectivity for transient dynamics. Intriguingly, several experiments show that both concepts coexist in the same neural circuits [3, 4].
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