Stimulus-dependent suppression of chaos in recurrent neural networks

Neuronal activity arises from an interaction between ongoing firing generated spontaneously by neural circuits and responses driven by external stimuli. Using mean-field analysis, we ask how a neural network that intrinsically generates chaotic patterns of activity can remain sensitive to extrinsic input. We find that inputs not only drive network responses, but they also actively suppress ongoing activity, ultimately leading to a phase transition in which chaos is completely eliminated. The critical input intensity at the phase transition is a nonmonotonic function of stimulus frequency, revealing a “resonant” frequency at which the input is most effective at suppressing chaos even though the power spectrum of the spontaneous activity peaks at zero and falls exponentially. A prediction of our analysis is that the variance of neural responses should be most strongly suppressed at frequencies matching the range over which many sensory systems operate.

Authors: Rajan K, Abbott LF, Sompolinsky H.
Year of publication: 2010
Journal: Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 82(1 Pt 1):011903.

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