Doctoral Dissertations


Cognitive and cellular levels of synchronization in the central nervous system


"This work is focused on the study of the interaction between components of the nervous system that exhibit the ability to synchronize under the influence exerted on each other by their mutual coupling, or under the influence of an external input. Two main chapters of this dissertation deal with questions at two different levels of the nervous system. First, at the cellular level, a simple model is chosen to describe a single neuron in the single spike regime. Using computational simulations of an array of such coupled neurons, it is shown that the system evolves to a synchronized state of bursting driven by its own collective behavior; moreover, this state is spontaneously broken into a high frequency bursting state that propagates through the whole array very briefly, only to return again to the synchronized bursting state. The second part of the project studies a complicated and delicate network that operates at the cognitive and motor level. Eye tracking data from mild traumatic brain injured (mTBI) subjects are analyzed with similar stochastic phase synchronization methods as those used in the previous section. The results show that mTBI patients perform consistently worse when cognitive load is added to the target tracking task, while control subjects tend to improve their performance. The difference between the behaviors of both groups shows statistically significant results, suggesting that this method might be useful to measure the degree of damage in mile traumatic brain injured subjects"--Abstract, page iii.


Bahar, Sonya

Committee Member(s)

Peacher, Jerry
Hale, Barbara N.
Liu, Jingyue
Wilkens, Lon



Degree Name

Ph. D. in Physics


Dissertation completed as part of a cooperative degree program with Missouri University of Science and Technology and the University of Missouri--St. Louis.


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Summer 2009

Journal article titles appearing in thesis/dissertation

  • Self-organized collective behavior of an array of neurons with excitatory coupling
  • Eye-target synchronization in mild traumatic brain injured subjects
  • Effect of cognitive load on eye-target synchronization during SPEM


ix, 69 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 64-68).


© 2009 Roxana Patricia Contreras, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Dissertation - Citation

File Type




Subject Headings

Biological rhythms -- Molecular aspects
Biological systems
Molecular neurobiology

Thesis Number

T 9551

Print OCLC #


Link to Catalog Record

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