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Beyond dimension reduction: Stable electric fields emerge from and allow representational drift

Pinotsis, D. A. ORCID: 0000-0002-6865-8103 & Miller, E. K. (2022). Beyond dimension reduction: Stable electric fields emerge from and allow representational drift. NeuroImage, 253, article number 119058. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.119058


It is known that the exact neurons maintaining a given memory (the neural ensemble) change from trial to trial. This raises the question of how the brain achieves stability in the face of this representational drift. Here, we demonstrate that this stability emerges at the level of the electric fields that arise from neural activity. We show that electric fields carry information about working memory content. The electric fields, in turn, can act as “guard rails” that funnel higher dimensional variable neural activity along stable lower dimensional routes. We obtained the latent space associated with each memory. We then confirmed the stability of the electric field by mapping the latent space to different cortical patches (that comprise a neural ensemble) and reconstructing information flow between patches. Stable electric fields can allow latent states to be transferred between brain areas, in accord with modern engram theory.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Publisher Keywords: Memory engrams, Neural ensembles, Working memory, Predictive coding, Auto-encoders, Effective connectivity
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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