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From theory to method to understanding: connectivity analysis of electrophysiological data to understand the function of the dynamic brain

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One of the great challenges in neuroscience is to understand how disparate brain regions become functionally integrated in the correct configuration to enable performance of distinct perceptual and cognitive tasks. This “dynamic coordination problem” arises because different neocortical and subcortical areas ...

One of the great challenges in neuroscience is to understand how disparate brain regions become functionally integrated in the correct configuration to enable performance of distinct perceptual and cognitive tasks. This “dynamic coordination problem” arises because different neocortical and subcortical areas are specialized for different functions. Therefore, complex processing will require different functional areas to form transient neuronal coalitions to exchange the relevant information for a particular task. Numerous proposals have suggested how the brain could create such transient task-driven assemblies. One of the most influential proposals is that neuronal oscillations can act as the mechanism for establishing dynamic links. In this Research Topic, we will examine current models underlying the dynamic brain, as well as the methodological and conceptual underpinnings that are necessary to achieve a more complete picture. We will examine different methods that are currently used to assess functional and effective connectivity, as well as their applications to electrophysiological data. In addition, we will critically review the current evidence for oscillations as the mechanism for dynamic coordination, as well as the conceptual and technical challenges that need to be met to make progress. By combining both theoretical and applied contributions in this Research Topic, we hope to make a significant contribution towards understanding how dynamic connectivity underlies the brain’s incredible cognitive and perceptual capabilities.


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