Connectionist Models of CPG Networks
Central Pattern Generators (CPGs) are neural networks that can produce coordinated patterns of rhythmic activity to orchestrate repetitive behaviors such as feeding, locomotion, and respiration. CPGs are known to be composed of phylogenetically conserved connectional units that are typically organized into chains to enable coordinated activation of the effector organs (muscles). Through integration of experimental and computational approaches at the cellular and network levels, essential connectional elements of CPGs have been revealed (Grillner 2006).
Network Topology: At the connectional level, a CPG network consists of “unit CPGs” representing the nodes of the network, and the reciprocal connections between unit CPGs correspond to the branches of the network. Physiologically, a unit CPG represents a group of neurons that can generate a recurrent burst of activity (Grillner 2006).