PRINCIPLES OF INFORMATION PROCESSING IN NEURONAL AVALANCHES
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How the brain processes information is poorly understood. It has been suggested that the imbalance of excitation and inhibition (E/I) can significantly affect information processing in the brain. Neuronal avalanches, a type of spontaneous activity recently discovered, have been ubiquitously observed in vitro and in vivo when the cortical network is in the E/I balanced state. In this dissertation, I experimentally demonstrate that several properties regarding information processing in the cortex, i.e. the entropy of spontaneous activity, the information transmission between stimulus and response, the diversity of synchronized states and the discrimination of external stimuli, are optimized when the cortical network is in the E/I balanced state, exhibiting neuronal avalanche dynamics. These experimental studies not only support the hypothesis that the cortex operates in the critical state, but also suggest that criticality is a potential principle of information processing in the cortex. Further, we study the interaction structure in population neuronal dynamics, and discovered a special structure of higher order interactions that are inherent in the neuronal dynamics.