The Metastable Brain

Emmanuelle Tognoli, J. A. Scott Kelso
2014 Neuron  
Neural ensembles oscillate across a broad range of frequencies and are transiently coupled or "bound" together when people attend to a stimulus, perceive, think, and act. This is a dynamic, self-assembling process, with parts of the brain engaging and disengaging in time. But how is it done? The theory of Coordination Dynamics proposes a mechanism called metastability, a subtle blend of integration and segregation. Tendencies for brain regions to express their individual autonomy and
more » ... functions (segregation, modularity) coexist with tendencies to couple and coordinate globally for multiple functions (integration). Although metastability has garnered increasing attention, it has yet to be demonstrated and treated within a fully spatiotemporal perspective. Here, we illustrate metastability in continuous neural and behavioral recordings, and we discuss theory and experiments at multiple scales, suggesting that metastable dynamics underlie the real-time coordination necessary for the brain's dynamic cognitive, behavioral, and social functions.
doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2013.12.022 pmid:24411730 pmcid:PMC3997258 fatcat:cb6xoawvrjbjdcdvr5b725wski