Although context-dependent spike synchronization among populations of neurons has been experimentally observed, its functional role remains controversial. In this modeling study, we demonstrate that in a network of spiking neurons organized according to spike-timing-dependent plasticity, an increase in the degree of synchrony of a uniform input can cause transitions between memorized activity patterns in the order presented during learning. Furthermore, context-dependent transitions from a single pattern to multiple patterns can be induced under appropriate learning conditions. These findings suggest one possible functional role of neuronal synchrony in controlling the flow of information by altering the dynamics of the network.

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