Question on the implication of networks for the brain

Happy Neuromatch days!

I have a question on dynamical models for the brain,
Today we learned to analyze network dynamics, is there a hierarchical structure for these networks in the brain? If yes, what are the implications of having such hierarchies and recurrences in the brain? What are the projections of these concepts in human behavior and cognition?


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So yes and no. On the one hand (yes), the brain consists of a hierarchy of networks of networks. Networks all the way up and networks all the way down. On the other hand (no), they are generally not weakly coupled. So the scale transition, while attractive may be impossible. And we have, imho, no clean ideas on how to bridge from the microscopic to the macroscopic. Some people will disagree with this view, so I leave them to make the point.


So because of strong coupling we cannot distinguish the effect of this hierarchy?

It also depends what you mean by hierarchies. If you think of representation of sensory information, we can argue that there are are hierarchies. Early sensory areas respond to simple features and higher areas respond to complex features and are even multi-modal.

But if you think of hierarchies in terms of scales like micro to meso and macro (e.g. from molecules to membranes to networks to systems and so on…) then I would say NO.

In our modern computer there is a clear hierarchy but such clear hierarchies are not there in the brain. Properties of synapses and neurons can shape the network but network activity can also shape the synapse and neuron properties and so on… Perhaps a better word is Heterarchy (not that it solves the problem).