A new manuscript from Camden MacDowell shows the 'song' of neural activity in the brain is composed of a few repeated 'chords'.
Using cortex-wide calcium imaging, we traced the spatio-temporal dynamics of neural activity across the cortex of mice. We found over 80% of the variance in neural activity across the cortex could be explained by a set of 14 'motifs'. Each motif captured a dynamic pattern of neural activity that extended across the cortex and lasted for ~1 second. The same motifs were seen in different animals and generalized across many different behaviors. Motifs may reflect core cortical computations, such as sensory processing. When combined, they can create a wide variety of behaviors.
Full manuscript is available at Current Biology.