[Comp-neuro] Oscillations

Harry Erwin harry.erwin at sunderland.ac.uk
Wed Jul 23 12:47:49 CEST 2008

An issue I've been thinking about recently is the evidence that goal- 
oriented plans can be replayed at various speeds and in both forward  
and time-reversed directions. In goal-directed behaviour of bats, the  
animal first plans ahead to the target capture (or perhaps retrieves  
an appropriate plan from memory). Then later during the capture  
process, if the target turns out to be inedible, the bat will sheer  
off as late as 30 msec prior to contact. I guestimate that the  
original capture plan was generated or retrieved in about 5% of the  
time necessary to execute it, and the back propagation through time of  
revised reward estimates takes place in about the same time. I suspect  
the plan is represented as a set of discrete intermediate subgoals,  
and that there is an oscillatory process that steps through the  
subgoals to replay the plan. Chip Levy's evidence about sharp waves  
during sleep suggests some mechanisms that would allow the speed and  
direction of the process to be varied.

"an academic who listens to pleas of convenience before publishing his  
research risks calling into doubt the whole of his determination to  
find the truth." (Russell 1993)
Harry Erwin

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