Information flow dynamics in the brain

Mikhail I. Rabinovich*, Valentin S. Afraimovich, Christian Bick, Pablo Varona

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Timing and dynamics of information in the brain is a hot field in modern neuroscience. The analysis of the temporal evolution of brain information is crucially important for the understanding of higher cognitive mechanisms in normal and pathological states. From the perspective of information dynamics, in this review we discuss working memory capacity, language dynamics, goal-dependent behavior programming and other functions of brain activity. In contrast with the classical description of information theory, which is mostly algebraic, brain flow information dynamics deals with problems such as the stability/instability of information flows, their quality, the timing of sequential processing, the top-down cognitive control of perceptual information, and information creation. In this framework, different types of information flow instabilities correspond to different cognitive disorders. On the other hand, the robustness of cognitive activity is related to the control of the information flow stability. We discuss these problems using both experimental and theoretical approaches, and we argue that brain activity is better understood considering information flows in the phase space of the corresponding dynamical model. In particular, we show how theory helps to understand intriguing experimental results in this matter, and how recent knowledge inspires new theoretical formalisms that can be tested with modern experimental techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-73
Number of pages23
JournalPhysics of Life Reviews
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Information capacity
  • Information creation
  • Information flows in phase space
  • Language dynamics
  • Mental disorders
  • Working memory

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