Slow oscillations have been suggested as the default emergent activity of the cortical network. This is a low complexity state that integrates neuronal, synaptic, and connectivity properties of the cortex. Shaped by variations of physiological parameters, slow oscillations provide information about the underlying healthy or pathological network. We review how this default activity is shaped, how it acts as a powerful attractor, and how getting out of it is necessary for the brain to recover the levels of complexity associated with conscious states. We propose that slow oscillations provide a robust unifying paradigm for the study of cortical function.
Keywords: attractors; complexity; consciousness; homeostasis; slow oscillations; slow waves; unconsciousness.
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