Power-law correlations and coupling of active and quiet states underlie a class of complex systems with self-organization at criticality
1 Institute of Science and Technology Austria, A-3400 Klosterneuburg, Austria
2 Keck Laboratory for Network Physiology, Department of Physics, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
3 Harvard Medical School and Division of Sleep Medicine, Brigham and Women Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Published online: 11 March 2020
Physical and biological systems often exhibit intermittent dynamics with bursts or avalanches (active states) characterized by power-law size and duration distributions. These emergent features are typical of systems at the critical point of continuous phase transitions, and have led to the hypothesis that such systems may self-organize at criticality, i.e. without any fine tuning of parameters. Since the introduction of the Bak-Tang-Wiesenfeld (BTW) model, the paradigm of self-organized criticality (SOC) has been very fruitful for the analysis of emergent collective behaviors in a number of systems, including the brain. Although considerable effort has been devoted in identifying and modeling scaling features of burst and avalanche statistics, dynamical aspects related to the temporal organization of bursts remain often poorly understood or controversial. Of crucial importance to understand the mechanisms responsible for emergent behaviors is the relationship between active and quiet periods, and the nature of the correlations. Here we investigate the dynamics of active (θ-bursts) and quiet states (δ-bursts) in brain activity during the sleep-wake cycle. We show the duality of power-law (θ, active phase) and exponential-like (δ, quiescent phase) duration distributions, typical of SOC, jointly emerge with power-law temporal correlations and anti-correlated coupling between active and quiet states. Importantly, we demonstrate that such temporal organization shares important similarities with earthquake dynamics, and propose that specific power-law correlations and coupling between active and quiet states are distinctive characteristics of a class of systems with self-organization at criticality.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2020
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