Brain Performance versus Phase Transitions
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Network modelsComplex networksStatistical physics
Torres Agudo, J.J.; Marro Borau, J. Brain Performance versus Phase Transitions. Scientific Reports, 5: 12216 (2015). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/37117]
SponsorshipThe authors acknowledge support from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness under the project FIS2013-43201-P.
We here illustrate how a well-founded study of the brain may originate in assuming analogies with phase-transition phenomena. Analyzing to what extent a weak signal endures in noisy environments, we identify the underlying mechanisms, and it results a description of how the excitability associated to (non-equilibrium) phase changes and criticality optimizes the processing of the signal. Our setting is a network of integrate-and-fire nodes in which connections are heterogeneous with rapid time-varying intensities mimicking fatigue and potentiation. Emergence then becomes quite robust against wiring topology modification—in fact, we considered from a fully connected network to the Homo sapiens connectome—showing the essential role of synaptic flickering on computations. We also suggest how to experimentally disclose significant changes during actual brain operation.