Paper published in PLoS Computational Biology

Computational modelling paper, written by SCANDLE researcher Robert Mill and colleagues from Plymouth, published by PLoS

Paper published in PLoS Computational Biology

Cover image of July 2011 issue of PLoS

Robert Mill, post-doctoral researcher on the SCANDLE project, has published, along with his fellow colleagues from Plymouth University, a paper in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology. 

The paper presents a neurocomputational model of stimulus-specific adaptation; a phenomenon which has been observed in the auditory cortex. 

Stimulus-specific adaptation (SSA) is a process whereby neurons adapt to common stimuli but otherwise remain sensitive to other, rare stimuli,  and has been proposed as a low-level substrate for abstract pattern processing. SSA is generally investigated using ‘oddball sequences’ of tones, in which one frequency is common, the other rare.  

The model is composed of a small number of homogeneously connected populations of spiking neurons with depressing synapses and reproduces a wide range of published experimental data. The paper also presents a generalisation of the oddball paradigm, based on Markov chains, which allows experimenters to manipulate novelty as well as rarity; e.g., by placing the letter B in the sequence ABAAA  it had more inherent novelty than it does within the sequence CBADE, even though it is equally probable in both. The paper proposes that the cascade of depressing synapses is important to the development of SSA and the ability to adequately distinguish between novelty and rarity.

The full text is available on the PLoS website


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