Alessandro Torcini

Sisyphus Effect in neural networks with Plasticity



The collective dynamics of excitatory pulse coupled neurons with spike-timing dependent plasticity is studied. The introduction of spike-timing dependent plasticity induces persistent irregular oscillations between strongly and weakly synchronized states, reminiscent of brain activity during slow-wave sleep. We explain the oscillations by a mechanism, the Sisyphus Effect, caused by a continuous feedback between the synaptic adjustments and the coherence in the neural firing. Due to this effect, the synaptic weights have oscillating equilibrium values, and this prevents the system from relaxing into a stationary macroscopic state.



  1. Emergence of Slow Collective Oscillations in Neural Networks with Spike-Timing Dependent Plasticity
    Kaare Mikkelsen, Alberto Imparato, and Alessandro Torcini
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 208101 – Published 13 May 2013