10 April 2018
Basic neuroscience teaches us how individual brain cells communicate with each other, like neighbours chatting over the garden fence.
This is a vital part of brain function. Increasingly however neuroscientists are zooming out and studying the information processing that happens within and between neural networks across the entire brain, more akin to the complex flow of digital information constantly pulsing around the globe.
This has led them to realise the importance of what they call “brain entropy” – intense complexity and irregular variability in brain activity from one moment to the next, also marked by greater long-distance correlations in neural activity.
Greater entropy, up to a point, is indicative of more information processing capacity, as opposed to low entropy – characterised by orderliness and repetition – which is seen when we are in a deep sleep or coma.