Synchronization by Oscillation
Opposing forces and positive feedback are typically required for neuronal oscillations. Single neurons oscillate mainly because voltage-gated ion channels with opposite properties depolarize and hyperpolarize the membrane. Collective behavior of neurons is established through synchrony, which requires a discrete temporal window defined by a neuron or neuronal pool. Although this temporal window is in the range of tens of milliseconds for single neurons, oscillatory coalitions of neurons can greatly expand the effective window of synchronization. Population synchrony enhances effective output. Neuron assemblies are formed as transient coalitions of discharging neurons with mutual interaction. Assembly behavior is a consequence of self-organized interactions among neurons, which may be the source of cognitive function. Stochastic resonance may be a mechanism for selectively extracting messages and deducing the metric of intrinsic dynamics of sending assemblies. Instead of costly white (stochastic) noise generation, brain networks opted for transient coupling between oscillatory events of different frequencies.
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