DOI: 0910.0805Jan 9, 2010Paper

Can power-law scaling and neuronal avalanches arise from stochastic dynamics?

ArXiv
Jonathan Touboul, Alain Destexhe

Abstract

The presence of self-organized criticality in biology is often evidenced by a power-law scaling of event size distributions, which can be measured by linear regression on logarithmic axes. We show here that such a procedure does not necessarily mean that the system exhibits self-organized criticality. We first provide an analysis of multisite local field potential (LFP) recordings of brain activity and show that event size distributions defined as negative LFP peaks can be close to power-law distributions. However, this result is not robust to change in detection threshold, or when tested using more rigorous statistical analyses such as the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. Similar power-law scaling is observed for surrogate signals, suggesting that power-law scaling may be a generic property of thresholded stochastic processes. We next investigate this problem analytically, and show that, indeed, stochastic processes can produce spurious power-law scaling without the presence of underlying self-organized criticality. However, this power-law is only apparent in logarithmic representations, and does not survive more rigorous analysis such as the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. The same analysis was also performed on an artificial network know...Continue Reading

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