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Mainak Patel : The Essential Role of Phase Delayed Inhibition in Decoding Synchronized Oscillations within the Brain

The widespread presence of synchronized neuronal oscillations within the brain suggests that a mechanism must exist that is capable of decoding such activity. Two realistic designs for such a decoder include: 1) a read-out neuron with a high spike threshold, or 2) a phase-delayed inhibition network motif. Despite requiring a more elaborate network architecture, phase-delayed inhibition has been observed in multiple systems, suggesting that it may provide inherent advantages over simply imposing a high spike threshold. We use a computational and mathematical approach to investigate the efficacy of the phase-delayed inhibition motif in detecting synchronized oscillations, showing that phase-delayed inhibition is capable of detecting synchrony far more robustly than a high spike threshold detector. Furthermore, we show that in a system with noisy encoders where stimuli are encoded through synchrony, phase-delayed inhibition enables the creation of a decoder that can respond both reliably and specifically to a stimulus, while a high spike threshold does not.

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