Experimental observation of phase-flip transitions in the brain


Nicholas M Dotson, Charles M Gray


Physical Review E


The phase-flip transition has been demonstrated in a host of coupled nonlinear oscillator models, many pertaining directly to understanding neural dynamics. However, there is little evidence that this phenomenon occurs in the brain. Using simultaneous microelectrode recordings in the nonhuman primate cerebral cortex, we demonstrate the presence of phase-flip transitions between oscillatory narrow-band local field potential signals separated by several centimeters. Specifically, we show that sharp transitions between in-phase and antiphase synchronization are accompanied by a jump in synchronization frequency. These findings are significant for two reasons. First, they validate predictions made by model systems. Second, they have potentially far reaching implications for our understanding of the mechanisms underlying corticocortical communication, which are thought to rely on narrow-band oscillatory synchronization with specific relative phase relationships.



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