Patterns are ubiquitous in the nervous system. These range from the temporal patterns of locomotion (e.g. gaits such as the trot, walk, and gallop) and other motor activity (head bobbing, scratching, tail wagging) to spatio-temporal patterns of neural activity seen during imaging of human brains and in electrical recordings in animal brains. In this talk, I will discuss the mechanisms that underlie the emergence of patterns in space and time. Within this context, I will try to connect paleolithic cave paintings with spontaneous patterns in the excited brain. I will also discuss some recent experimental work on the interactions of external stimuli with the internally generated patterns of neural activity. The talk is free of equations and should be accessible to a general audience.
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