The human cortex is never at rest but in a state of sparse and noisy neural activity that can be detected at broadly diverse resolution scales. It has been conjectured that such a state is best described as a critical dynamical process—whose nature is still not fully understood—where scale-free avalanches of activity emerge at the edge of a phase transition. In particular, some works suggest that this is most likely a synchronization transition, separating synchronous from asynchronous phases. Here, by investigating a simplified model of coupled excitable oscillators describing the cortex dynamics at a mesoscopic level, we investigate the possible nature of such a synchronization phase transition. Within our modeling approach we conclude that—in order to reproduce all key empirical observations, such as scale-free avalanches and bistability, on which fundamental functional advantages rely—the transition to collective oscillatory behavior needs to be of an unconventional hybrid type, with mixed features of type-I and type-II excitability, opening the possibility for a particularly rich dynamical repertoire.
Hybrid-type synchronization transitions: Where incipient oscillations, scale-free avalanches, and bistability live together / Buendía, Victor; Villegas, Pablo; Burioni, Raffaella; Muñoz, Miguel A.. - In: PHYSICAL REVIEW RESEARCH. - ISSN 2643-1564. - 3:2(2021), pp. 023224-023241. [10.1103/PhysRevResearch.3.023224]
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