On Sequence Learning Models: Open-loop Control Not Strictly Guided by Hick’s Law

Rodrigo Pavão, Joice P. Savietto, João R. Sato, Gilberto F. Xavier and André F. Helene

According to the Hick’s law, reaction times increase linearly with the uncertainty of target stimuli. We tested the generality of this law by measuring reaction times in a human sequence learning protocol involving serial target locations which differed in transition probability and global entropy. Our results showed that sigmoid functions better describe the relationship between reaction times and uncertainty when compared to linear functions. Sequence predictability was estimated by distinct statistical predictors: conditional probability, conditional entropy, joint probability and joint entropy measures. Conditional predictors relate to closed-loop control models describing that performance is guided by on-line access to past sequence structure to predict next location. Differently, joint predictors relate to open-loop control models assuming global access of sequence structure, requiring no constant monitoring. We tested which of these predictors better describe performance on the sequence learning protocol. Results suggest that joint predictors are more accurate than conditional predictors to track performance. In conclusion, sequence learning is better described as an open-loop process which is not precisely predicted by Hick’s law.

Nonparametric statistics of dynamic networks with distinguishable nodes

Daniel Fraiman, Nicolas Fraiman and Ricardo Fraiman

The study of random graphs and networks had an explosive development in the last couple of decades. Meanwhile, techniques for the statistical analysis of sequences of networks were less developed. In this paper, we focus on networks sequences with a fixed number of labeled nodes and study some statistical problems in a nonparametric framework. We introduce natural notions of center and a depth function for networks that evolve in time. We develop several statistical techniques including testing, supervised and unsupervised classification, and some notions of principal component sets in the space of networks. Some examples and asymptotic results are given, as well as two real data examples.

Ih Equalizes Membrane Input Resistance in a Heterogeneous Population of Fusiform Neurons in the Dorsal Cochlear Nucleus

Cesar C. Ceballos, Shuang Li, Antonio C. Roque, Thanos Tzounopoulos and Ricardo M. Leão

In a neuronal population, several combinations of its ionic conductances are used to attain a specific firing phenotype. Some neurons present heterogeneity in their firing, generally produced by expression of a specific conductance, but how additional conductances vary along in order to homeostatically regulate membrane excitability is less known. Dorsal cochlear nucleus principal neurons, fusiform neurons, display heterogeneous spontaneous action potential activity and thus represent an appropriate model to study the role of different conductances in establishing firing heterogeneity. Particularly, fusiform neurons are divided into quiet, with no spontaneous firing, or active neurons, presenting spontaneous, regular firing. These modes are determined by the expression levels of an intrinsic membrane conductance, an inwardly rectifying potassium current (IKir). In this work, we tested whether other subthreshold conductances vary homeostatically to maintain membrane excitability constant across the two subtypes. We found that Ih expression covaries specifically with IKir in order to maintain membrane resistance constant. The impact of Ih on membrane resistance is dependent on the level of IKir expression, being much smaller in quiet neurons with bigger IKir, but Ih variations are not relevant for creating the quiet and active phenotypes. Finally, we demonstrate that the individual proportion of each conductance, and not their absolute conductance, is relevant for determining the neuronal firing mode. We conclude that in fusiform neurons the variations of their different subthreshold conductances are limited to specific conductances in order to create firing heterogeneity and maintain membrane homeostasis.

Multi-class oscillating systems of interacting neurons

Susanne Ditlevsen and Eva Löcherbach

We consider multi-class systems of interacting nonlinear Hawkes processes modeling several large families of neurons and study their mean field limits. As the total number of neurons goes to infinity we prove that the evolution within each class can be described by a nonlinear limit differential equation driven by a Poisson random measure, and state associated central limit theorems. We study situations in which the limit system exhibits oscillatory behavior, and relate the results to certain piecewise deterministic Markov processes and their diffusion approximations.

The maximum size of a non-trivial intersecting uniform family that is not a subfamily of the Hilton-Milner family

Jie Han and Yoshiharu Kohayakawa

The celebrated Erdos–Ko–Rado theorem determines the maximum size of a k-uniform intersecting family. The Hilton–Milner theorem determines the maximum size of a k-uniform intersecting family that is not a subfamily of the so-called Erdos–Ko–Rado family. In turn, it is natural to ask what the maximum size of an intersecting k-uniform family that is neither a subfamily of the Erdos–Ko–Rado family nor of the Hilton–Milner family is. For k ≥ 4, this was solved (implicitly) in the same paper by Hilton–Milner in 1967. We give a different and simpler proof, based on the
shifting method, which allows us to solve all cases k ≥ 3 and characterize all extremal families achieving the extremal value.

Self-Organized Supercriticality and Oscillations in Networks of Stochastic Spiking Neurons

Ariadne A. Costa, Ludmila Brochini and Osame Kinouchi

Networks of stochastic spiking neurons are interesting models in the area of Theoretical Neuroscience, presenting both continuous and discontinuous phase transitions. Here we study fully connected networks analytically, numerically and by computational simulations. The neurons have dynamic gains that enable the network to converge to a stationary slightly supercritical state (self-organized supercriticality or SOSC) in the presence of the continuous transition. We show that SOSC, which presents power laws for neuronal avalanches plus some large events, is robust as a function of the main parameter of the neuronal gain dynamics. We discuss the possible applications of the idea of SOSC to biological phenomena like epilepsy and dragon king avalanches. We also find that neuronal gains can produce collective oscillations that coexists with neuronal avalanches, with frequencies compatible with characteristic brain rhythms.

Electrophysiological Evidence That the Retrosplenial Cortex Displays a Strong and Specific Activation Phased with Hippocampal Theta during Paradoxical (REM) Sleep

Bruna Del Vechio Koike, Kelly Soares Farias, Francesca Billwiller, Daniel Almeida-Filho, Paul-Antoine Libourel, Alix Tiran-Cappello, Régis Parmentier, Wilfredo Blanco, Sidarta Ribeiro, Pierre-Herve Luppi and Claudio Marcos Queiroz

It is widely accepted that cortical neurons are similarly more activated during waking and paradoxical sleep (PS; aka REM) than during slow-wave sleep (SWS). However, we recently reported using Fos labeling that only a few limbic cortical structures including the retrosplenial cortex (RSC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACA) contain a large number of neurons activated during PS hypersomnia. Our aim in the present study was to record local field potentials and unit activity from these two structures across all vigilance states in freely moving male rats to determine whether the RSC and the ACA are electrophysiologically specifically active during basal PS episodes. We found that theta power was significantly higher during PS than during active waking (aWK) similarly in the RSC and hippocampus (HPC) but not in ACA. Phase–amplitude coupling between HPC theta and gamma oscillations strongly and specifically increased in RSC during PS compared with aWK. It did not occur in ACA. Further, 68% and 43% of the units recorded in the RSC and ACA were significantly more active during PS than during aWK and SWS, respectively. In addition, neuronal discharge of RSC but not of ACA neurons increased just after the peak of hippocampal theta wave. Our results show for the first time that RSC neurons display enhanced spiking in synchrony with theta specifically during PS. We propose that activation of RSC neurons specifically during PS may play a role in the offline consolidation of spatial memories, and in the generation of vivid perceptual scenery during dreaming.

Hawkes processes with variable length memory and an infinite number of components

Pierre Hodara and Eva Löcherbach

In this paper we propose a model for biological neural nets where the activity of the network is described by Hawkes processes having a variable length memory. The particularity in this paper is that we deal with an infinite number of components. We propose a graphical construction of the process and build, by means of a perfect simulation algorithm, a stationary version of the process. To implement this algorithm, we make use of a Kalikow-type decomposition technique. Two models are described in this paper. In the first model, we associate to each edge of the interaction graph a saturation threshold that controls the influence of a neuron on another. In the second model, we impose a structure on the interaction graph leading to a cascade of spike trains. Such structures, where neurons are divided into layers, can be found in the retina.

Counting results for sparse pseudorandom hypergraphs II

Yoshiharu Kohayakawa, Guilherme Oliveira Mota, Mathias Schacht and Anusch Taraz

We present a variant of a universality result of Rödl (1986) for sparse, 3-uniform hypergraphs contained in strongly jumbled hypergraphs. One of the ingredients of our proof is a counting lemma for fixed hypergraphs in sparse “pseudorandom” hypergraphs, which is proved in the companion paper (Counting results for sparse pseudorandom hypergraphs I).

Coupled variability in primary sensory areas and the hippocampus during spontaneous activity

Nivaldo A. P. de Vasconcelos, Carina Soares-Cunha, Ana João Rodrigues, Sidarta Ribeiro and Nuno Sousa

The cerebral cortex is an anatomically divided and functionally specialized structure. It includes distinct areas, which work on different states over time. The structural features of spiking activity in sensory cortices have been characterized during spontaneous and evoked activity. However, the coordination among cortical and sub-cortical neurons during spontaneous activity across different states remains poorly characterized. We addressed this issue by studying the temporal coupling of spiking variability recorded from primary sensory cortices and hippocampus of anesthetized or freely behaving rats. During spontaneous activity, spiking variability was highly correlated across primary cortical sensory areas at both small and large spatial scales, whereas the cortico-hippocampal correlation was modest. This general pattern of spiking variability was observed under urethane anesthesia, as well as during waking, slow-wave sleep and rapid-eye-movement sleep, and was unchanged by novel stimulation. These results support the notion that primary sensory areas are strongly coupled during spontaneous activity.




The Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center for Neuromathematics is hosted by the University of São Paulo and funded by FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation).


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