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Invited talk: The role of spontaneous activity in sensory processing

Spontaneous, background activity in sensory areas is often similar in both magnitude and form to evoked responses. Embedding responses evoked by sensory stimuli in such strong and complex background activity seems like a confusing way to represent information about the outside world. However, modeling studies indicate that, contrary to intuition, information about sensory stimuli may be better conveyed by a network displaying chaotic background activity than in a network without spontaneous activity.

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Correspondence to Larry Abbott.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Abbott, L. Invited talk: The role of spontaneous activity in sensory processing. BMC Neurosci 8 (Suppl 2), S18 (2007).

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