Behavioral and Neural Pattern Generation: The Concept of Neurobehavioral Dynamical Systems

  • J. A. S. Kelso


The concept of neurobehavioral dynamical system (NBDS) is introduced as a unifying explanation of the following facts of neural and behavioral patterns generation, namely: 1) that numerous physical mechanisms are capable of realizing the same neural and behavioral patterns; 2) that the same network can produce multiple patterns, a feature known as multifunctionality; and, 3) that networks can switch flexibly and spontaneously from one configuration to another under certain influences. Synergetic phase transitions provide the methodological strategy through which to discover laws of neural and behavioral pattern generation. At transitions, patterns arise in a self-organized fashion, as collective states produced by coupled nonlinear dynamics. Identified laws: 1) possess so-called ‘universal’ properties, governing dynamical behavior on several scales of observation (e.g. individual neurons, neural networks, kinematics...) and in different systems (thereby accounting for fact #1 above); 2) exhibit multistability and bifurcation depending on parameter values (fact #2 above); and 3) are stochastic, fluctuations playing a key role in probing the stability of the pattern dynamics and promoting labile change (fact #3). In a NBDS, it is not necessary to posit a separate pattern generator for each observed behavior. Rather, where the system “lives” in the parameter space of the law, determines whether ordered or irregular patterns are observed. Linkage among different levels of description is by virtue of shared dynamical laws, which incorporate both chance and choice.


Central Pattern Generator Biological Motion Collective Variable Nonequilibrium Phase Transition Arnold Tongue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

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