Neural Synchronization in the brain
Waking up in the morning for most of us is a strange thing…we usually think of this period as one in which we go from an unconscious or semi conscious state to one where we are conscious, but we usually don’t immediately become fully conscious of our surroundings, circumstances or what it is we have planned for the day, it is a gradual affair that takes time, sometimes seconds and sometimes minutes ( and sometimes coffee ).
The neurobiology of this process is poorly understood, but amongst those that study the nuts and bolts of consciousness* (myself included), it is believed that this gradual awareness of the self and the environment arises as populations of neurons communicate in between them; and more importantly get synchronized with one another, which is the subject of this post.
As part of my research I’ve been working on making live neural network simulators which model groups of neurons and how they fire, here’s a first prototype…
To help understand what it does, take this illustration of 3 Biological Neurons :
And here are 3 Digital Neurons being placed, connected and firing:
Technical Notes: Each neuron starts with a base Neurotransmitter level of 0.4 and self releases Neurotransmitters at a rate of 0.1/frame, connections( axons ) have a fixed weight of 0.1 and turn red when firing along with the soma of their respective neurons, synapses are indicated by dots outside target neurons, neurotransmitters are all excitatory and the frame rate is about 20 frames/second, in short a model of biological neurons which has been slowed down and tied up to graph notation to make things easier to follow.
let’s now look at a group of neurons firing; note they aren’t connected and the firing is quite random and chaotic :
Synchronicity first appears when we start connecting these digital neurons in local groups:
What is remarkable is the long distance dynamics of connected neural groups or networks and how they synchronize themselves, a fancy way of saying when you wake up in the morning and presumably during your day to day; different brain functions including your consciousness arise by groups of neurons integrating information by firing at the same time or in ordered patterns through connections ( both established and ephemeral ),it’s a lot to take in, but for now lets focus on how synchronicity arises :
3 unsynchronized neural networks synchronize themselves as connections are made, blink and you miss it.
It is very early days for these types of simulations and this is just a simple prototype I made in a few weeks to help my research on CAI ( or Conscious Artificial Intelligence), feature rich versions are currently my focus followed by more practical applications in the future, but for now I’ve found it to be an interesting tool for visualizing some aspects of neuronal networks that are hard to follow via traditional methods.
🔆🔆🔆 C.A.I 🔆🔆🔆If you are interested in the topic of Conscious Artificial I condensed much of what I know and don't know into a short introductory book you can find here:Conscious Artificial Intelligence: Part 1. FoundationsAnd a companion article here on Medium.
** Some suggested reading :Rhythms of the Brain ( Buzsaki),Networks of the brain ( Sporns ) Fundamentals of Brain Network Analysis ( Fornito, Zalesky, Bullmore ).
About the Author :
Born Eugenio Noyola Leon (Keno) I am a Designer,Web Developer/programmer, Artist and Inventor, currently living in Mexico City, you can find me at www.k3no.com