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Open AccessArticle

Criticality as a Determinant of Integrated Information Φ in Human Brain Networks

by Hyoungkyu Kim 1,2 and UnCheol Lee 1,2,*
Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Center for Consciousness Science, University of Michigan Medical School, Domino’s Farms, P.O. Box 385, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Entropy 2019, 21(10), 981;
Received: 25 July 2019 / Revised: 5 October 2019 / Accepted: 5 October 2019 / Published: 8 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Information Theory)
Integrated information theory (IIT) describes consciousness as information integrated across highly differentiated but irreducible constituent parts in a system. However, in a complex dynamic system such as the brain, the optimal conditions for large integrated information systems have not been elucidated. In this study, we hypothesized that network criticality, a balanced state between a large variation in functional network configuration and a large constraint on structural network configuration, may be the basis of the emergence of a large Φ, a surrogate of integrated information. We also hypothesized that as consciousness diminishes, the brain loses network criticality and Φ decreases. We tested these hypotheses with a large-scale brain network model and high-density electroencephalography (EEG) acquired during various levels of human consciousness under general anesthesia. In the modeling study, maximal criticality coincided with maximal Φ. The EEG study demonstrated an explicit relationship between Φ, criticality, and level of consciousness. The conscious resting state showed the largest Φ and criticality, whereas the balance between variation and constraint in the brain network broke down as the response rate dwindled. The results suggest network criticality as a necessary condition of a large Φ in the human brain. View Full-Text
Keywords: criticality; integrated information; human consciousness; brain network criticality; integrated information; human consciousness; brain network
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Kim, H.; Lee, U. Criticality as a Determinant of Integrated Information Φ in Human Brain Networks. Entropy 2019, 21, 981.

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