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Daniel Durstewitz

Centre for Theoretical & Computational Neuroscience, University of Plymouth, UK


Wednesday 29 March 2006



Seminar Room B10 (Basement)

Alexandra House, 17 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AR


Neural dynamics and biophysics of active information maintenance in

cortical networks


All mammals and birds are endowed with the cognitive capacity of actively maintaining information for brief periods of time (working memory), such that temporal contingencies within the flow of environmental information can be detected, or behavior can be guided according to current goal states. The neural mechanisms underlying this capacity are still not clear, and may in fact be quite diverse. My talk will discuss models of active maintenance and focus particularly on the multiple roles of NMDA synaptic currents, as well as on the modulatory control of active network states. Besides regulating firing rate multi-stability as a potential working memory mechanism, NMDA currents due to their specific biophysical properties could promote slow oscillations with synchronized bursting, and a chaotic transitional state. The potential computational significance for working memory will be discussed.