Research ArticleCOGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE

Cognitive chimera states in human brain networks

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Science Advances  03 Apr 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 4, eaau8535
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau8535

Abstract

The human brain is a complex dynamical system, and how cognition emerges from spatiotemporal patterns of regional brain activity remains an open question. As different regions dynamically interact to perform cognitive tasks, variable patterns of partial synchrony can be observed, forming chimera states. We propose that the spatial patterning of these states plays a fundamental role in the cognitive organization of the brain and present a cognitively informed, chimera-based framework to explore how large-scale brain architecture affects brain dynamics and function. Using personalized brain network models, we systematically study how regional brain stimulation produces different patterns of synchronization across predefined cognitive systems. We analyze these emergent patterns within our framework to understand the impact of subject-specific and region-specific structural variability on brain dynamics. Our results suggest a classification of cognitive systems into four groups with differing levels of subject and regional variability that reflect their different functional roles.

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