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Journal Article

A dynamic causal model study of neuronal population dynamics

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Marreiros, A. C., Kiebel, S. J., & Friston, K. J. (2010). A dynamic causal model study of neuronal population dynamics. NeuroImage, 51(1), 91-101. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.01.098.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-9B1B-7
In this paper, we compare mean-field and neural-mass models of electrophysiological responses using Bayesian model comparison. In previous work, we presented a mean-field model of neuronal dynamics as observed with magnetoencephalography and electroencephalography. Unlike neural-mass models, which consider only the mean activity of neuronal populations, mean-field models track the distribution (e.g., mean and dispersion) of population activity. This can be important if the mean affects the dispersion or vice versa. Here, we introduce a dynamical causal model based on mean-field (i.e., population density) models of neuronal activity, and use it to assess the evidence for a coupling between the mean and dispersion of hidden neuronal states using observed electromagnetic responses. We used Bayesian model comparison to compare homologous mean-field and neural-mass models, asking whether empirical responses support a role for population variance in shaping neuronal dynamics. We used the mismatch negativity (MMN) and somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) as representative neuronal responses in physiological and non-physiological paradigms respectively. Our main conclusion was that although neural-mass models may be sufficient for cognitive paradigms, there is clear evidence for an effect of dispersion at the high levels of depolarization evoked in SEP paradigms. This suggests that (i) the dispersion of neuronal states within populations generating evoked brain signals can be manifest in observed brain signals and that (ii) the evidence for their effects can be accessed with dynamic causal model comparison.