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Out of mind in a matter of seconds
Date:1/24/2011

o resolve the long-established disagreement as to whether the processes in the cerebral cortex are chaotic or not, using these models.

Thanks to their more differentiated approach, the Gttingen-based researchers were able to calculate, for the first time, how quickly an activity pattern is lost through tiny changes; in other words, how it is forgotten. Approximately one bit of information disappears per active neuron per second. "This extraordinarily high deletion rate came as a huge surprise to us", says Wolf. It appears that information is lost in the brain as quickly as it can be "delivered" from the senses.

This has fundamental consequences for our understanding of the neural code of the cerebral cortex. Due to the high deletion rate, information about sensory input signals can only be maintained for a few spikes. These new findings therefore indicate that the dynamics of the cerebral cortex are specifically tailored to the processing of brief snapshots of the outside world.


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Contact: Dr. Fred Wolf
fred@nld.ds.mpg.de
49-551-517-6419
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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