Author(s): Yu S, Yang H, Shriki O, Plenz D, Yu S, Yang H, Shriki O, Plenz D
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Abstract Thermodynamic criticality describes emergent phenomena in a wide variety of complex systems. In the mammalian cortex, one type of complex dynamics that spontaneously emerges from neuronal interactions has been characterized as neuronal avalanches. Several aspects of neuronal avalanches such as their size and life time distributions are described by power laws with unique exponents, indicating an underlying critical branching process that governs avalanche formation. Here, we show that neuronal avalanches also reflect an organization of brain dynamics close to a thermodynamic critical point. We recorded spontaneous cortical activity in monkeys and humans at rest using high-density intracranial microelectrode arrays and magnetoencephalography, respectively. By numerically changing a control parameter equivalent to thermodynamic temperature, we observed typical critical behavior in cortical activities near the actual physiological condition, including the phase transition of an order parameter, as well as the divergence of susceptibility and specific heat. Finite-size scaling of these quantities allowed us to derive robust critical exponents highly consistent across monkey and humans that uncover a distinct, yet universal organization of brain dynamics. Our results demonstrate that normal brain dynamics at rest resides near or at criticality, which maximizes several aspects of information processing such as input sensitivity and dynamic range.
This article was published in Front Syst Neurosci
and referenced in Immunome Research