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Cortical synchrony across cognitive processing stages

dynamics & coordinating mechanisms
PhD ceremony:Mr O. (Oscar) Portoles Marin
When:October 15, 2021
Supervisor:M. (Ming) Cao, Prof
Co-supervisors:dr. M.K. (Marieke) van Vugt, prof. dr. J.P. (Jelmer) Borst
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Science and Engineering
Cortical synchrony across cognitive processing stages

Any cognitive task requires of executing a set of elementary cognitive processes. These cognitive process are assumed to require of  coordinating specific regions of the brain. However, the patterns of neural coordination related to each cognitive process were never measured due to some technical limitations. In this thesis we overcame these limitations and measured the patterns of neural coordination at each elementary processing stage in a memory task. Indeed, our results show that a new pattern of neural coordination emerges at the onset of each processing stage. Furthermore, we investigated the mechanisms that cause these switches between patterns of neural coordination. To this end, we developed the first whole-brain model that can simulate large-scale neural coordination throughout a cognitive task. First we showed that this model is able to simulate the dynamics of neural coordination during resting state. Next we showed that short pulses of neural activity targeted at specific brain regions cause the switching between states of neural coordination associated with elementary cognitive processes.