Enhanced responsiveness and low-level awareness in stochastic network states.
Yann Zerlaut and Alain Destexhe

Neuron 94: 1002-1009, 2017.

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Desynchronized brain states are known to be associated with arousal and increased awareness, but the exact mechanisms are unknown. Here, we show that neuronal networks displaying asynchronous irregular (AI) activity can implement a low-level form of awareness, due to their specific responsiveness properties. We emphasize the importance of the conductance state and stochasticity to explain these properties. We suggest that the purpose of cortical structures is to generate AI states with optimal responsiveness, to be globally aware of external stimuli.