Emergence of oscillations via spike timing dependent plasticity
Neuronal oscillatory activity has been reported in relation to a wide range of cognitive processes. In certain cases changes in oscillatory activity has been associated with pathological states. Although the specific role of these oscillations has yet to be determined, it is clear that neuronal oscillations are abundant in the central nervous system. These observations raise the question of the origin of these oscillations; and specifically whether the mechanisms responsible for the generation
... for the generation and stabilization of these oscillations are genetically hard-wired or whether they can be acquired via a learning process. Here we focus on spike timing dependent plasticity (STDP) to investigate whether oscillatory activity can emerge in a neuronal network via an unsupervised learning process of STDP dynamics, and if so, what features of the STDP learning rule govern and stabilize the resultant oscillatory activity? Here, the STDP dynamics of the effective coupling between two competing neuronal populations with reciprocal inhibitory connections was analyzed using the phase-diagram of the system that depicts the possible dynamical states of the network as a function of the effective inhibitory couplings. This phase diagram yields a rich repertoire of possible dynamical behaviors including regions of different fixed point solutions, bi-stability and a region in which the system exhibits oscillatory activity. STDP introduces dynamics for the inhibitory couplings themselves and hence induces a flow in the phase diagram. We investigate the conditions for the flow to converge to an oscillatory state of the neuronal network and then characterize how the features of the STDP rule govern and stabilize these oscillations.