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BMC Neuroscience

Open Access

Invited talk: The role of spontaneous activity in sensory processing

BMC Neuroscience20078(Suppl 2):S18

Published: 6 July 2007


Animal ModelSpontaneous ActivityBackground ActivitySensory ProcessingSensory Stimulus

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.

Authors’ Affiliations

Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, USA


© Abbott; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2007

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.