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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.01240

Neural Field Theory of Corticothalamic Attention with Control Systems Analysis

 Tara Babaie-Janvier1* and Peter Robinson1
  • 1University of Sydney, Australia

Neural field theory is used to analyze attention by extending an existing model of the large-scale activity in the corticothalamic system to incorporate local feedbacks that modulate the gains of neural connectivity as part of the response to incoming stimuli. Treatment of both activity changes and connectivity changes as part of a generalized response enables generalized linear transfer functions of the combined response to be derived. These are then analyzed and interpreted via control theory in terms of stimulus-driven changes in system resonances that were recently shown to implement data filtering and prediction of the inputs. Using simple visual stimuli as a test case, it is shown that the gain response can implement attention by evaluating two main features of the stimuli: the magnitude and the rate of change, by increasing the weight placed on the rate of change in response to sudden changes, while reducing the contribution of stimuli value in tandem. These changes of filter parameters are shown to improve the prediction of the upcoming stimuli based on its recent time course.
This outcome is analogous to controller-parameter tuning for performance enhancement in engineering control theory.

Keywords: Attention, prediction, Cortex, Thalamus, Neurodynamics, neural field theory, control systems, filter, Feedback, Brain, neuronal gain control

Received: 29 Mar 2019; Accepted: 04 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Babaie-Janvier and Robinson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Tara Babaie-Janvier, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia,