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Cognition is the most complex function of the brain. When exploring the inner workings of cognitive processes, it is crucial to understand the complexity of the brain's dynamics. This paper aims to describe the integrated framework of the cognitive function, seen as the result of organization and interactions between several systems and subsystems. We briefly describe several organizational concepts, spanning from the reductionist hierarchical approach, up to the more dynamic theory of open complex systems. The homeostatic regulation of the mechanisms responsible for cognitive processes is showcased as a dynamic interplay between several anticorrelated mechanisms, which can be found at every level of the brain's organization, from molecular and cellular level to large-scale networks (e.g., excitation-inhibition, long-term plasticity-long-term depression, synchronization-desynchronization, segregation-integration, order-chaos). We support the hypothesis that cognitive function is the consequence of multiple network interactions, integrating intricate relationships between several systems, in addition to neural circuits.


Codruta Birle, Dana Slavoaca, Maria Balea, Livia Livint Popa, Ioana Muresanu, Emanuel Stefanescu, Vitalie Vacaras, Constantin Dina, Stefan Strilciuc, Bogdan Ovidiu Popescu, Dafin F Muresanu. Cognitive function: holarchy or holacracy? Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology. 2021 Jan;42(1):89-99

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PMID: 33070201

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