Metastability in the Brain
E. TOGNOLI, J. A. S. KELSO
Metastability is a property appearing in a system of non-linearly coupled non-linear oscillators wherein the units exhibit simultaneously a tendency to function autonomously (local segregation) and a tendency for coordinated activity (global integration). This property has been observed to emerge in systems with broken symmetry (different intrinsic frequencies of the constituent oscillators) when a threshold of the balancebetween local and global coupling strength is reached. Such a system provides an optimal flexibility, ie. the system presents attraction without attractor and can rapidly shift from one tendency to another. We hypothesize here that metastability is a principle underlying neuro-cognitive organization. [PPT].