Oscillations in many regions of the cortex have common temporal characteristics with dominant frequencies centered around the 40 Hz (gamma) frequency range and the 5–10 Hz (theta) frequency range. Experimental results also reveal spatially synchronous oscillations, which are stimulus dependent (Gray&Singer, 1987;Gray, König, Engel, & Singer, 1989; Engel, König, Kreiter, Schillen, & Singer, 1992). This rhythmic activity suggests that the coherence of neural populations is a crucial feature of cortical dynamics (Gray, 1994). Using both simulations and a theoretical coupled oscillator approach, we demonstrate that the spike frequency adaptation seen in many pyramidal cells plays a subtle but important role in the dynamics of cortical networks. Without adaptation, excitatory connections among model pyramidal cells are desynchronizing. However, the slow processes associated with adaptation encourage stable synchronous behavior.

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