Front. Integr. Neurosci.

Self-regulated dynamical criticality in human ECoG

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Mounting experimental and theoretical results indicate that neural systems are poised near a critical state. In human subjects, however, most evidence comes from functional MRI studies, an indirect measurement of neuronal activity with poor temporal resolution. Electrocorticography (ECoG) provides a unique window into human brain activity: each electrode records, with high temporal resolution, the activity resulting from the sum of the local field potentials of ~10 5 neurons. We show that the human brain ECoG recordings display features of self-regulated dynamical criticality: dynamical modes of activation drift around the critical stability threshold, moving in and out of the unstable region and equilibrating the global dynamical state at a very fast time scale. Moreover, the analysis also reveals differences between the resting state and a motor task, associated with increased stability of a fraction of the dynamical modes. © 2012 Solovey, Miller, Ojemann, Magnasco and Cecchi.