Ali Minai

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

University of Cincinnati

Dynamical Configuration of Modular Functional Networks

Based on recent experimental and computational studies, it is now widely accepted that cognition, perception and action emerge from the dynamics of the brain-body complex system embedded in its complex environment. A key finding is that cognitive processes such as decision-making, ideation and motor control are mediated by dynamically self-organizing functional networks ranging over various cortical and subcortical areas. These networks emerge from the substrate of the brain under the influence of afferent, recurrent and modulatory signals and shape the flow of activity through the brain. In this talk, we present an abstract neurodynamical model of this process, and apply it to a simplified scenario of generating conceptual combinations. The model is based on the interaction between modular synergies in two mutually coupled systems: A multi-modal response generation system (RGS), and an amodal internal attention system (IAS). Both are dynamical systems with metastable attractors, albeit at different temporal scales. Active synergies in the IAS project a flexible spotlight on the modular substrate of the RGS, unmasking context-appropriate functional networks. The faster itinerant or sequential dynamics of the latter then generates cognitive responses and recurrently shapes IAS activity. Both systems are subject to modulation driven by evaluative feedback, resulting in an extremely flexible and versatile system.




Iyer LR, Doboli S, Minai AA, Brown VR, Levine DS, Paulus PB (2009) Neural dynamics of idea generation and the effects of priming. Neural Networks 22:674-86


Doboli S, Minai AA (2003) Network capacity analysis for latent attractor computation. Network 14:273-302