Synergetics of the brain

Hermann HAken

Center of Synergetics, Institute for Theoretical Physics 1, University of Stuttgart,
Pfaffenwaldring 57, 70550 Stuttgart, Germany

Abstract: In the human brain billions of neurons cooperate to enable us to move, to recognize patters, to produce speech, to think, etc. Who or what steers the cooperation of the neurons? Sometime ago, I suggested that the brain is a synergetics, i.e., self-organizing systems that may spontaneously produce spatio-temporal patters of neuronal activity.
I first re-call by now well-known concepts that allow us to deal with self-organizing systems, e.g., contron parameters, instability, order parameters and the slaving principle. By means of the analysis of experimental data on movement coordination, visual perception, electro- and magnetoencephalograms it is shown how these concepts can be applied. In particular, it is shown how the complex dynamics can, in a number of well-defined cases, be reduced to low-dimensional dynamics that govern the behavior of the many individual neurons.