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Controlling extended criticality via modular connectivity

Gutjahr, Nikita; Hövel, Philipp; Viol, Aline

Criticality has been conjectured as an integral part of neuronal network dynamics. Operating at a critical threshold requires precise parameter tuning and a corresponding mechanism remains an open question. Recent studies have suggested that topological features observed in brain networks give rise to a Griffiths phase, leading to power-law scaling in brain activity dynamics and the operational benefits of criticality in an extended parameter region. Motivated by growing evidence of neural correlates of different states of consciousness, we investigate how topological changes affect the expression of a Griffiths phase. We analyze the activity decay in modular networks using a susceptible-infected-susceptible propagation model and find that we can control the extension of the Griffiths phase by altering intra- and intermodular connectivity. We find that by adjusting system parameters, we can counteract changes in critical behavior and maintain a stable critical region despite changes in network topology. Our results give insight into how structural network properties affect the emergence of a Griffiths phase and how its features are linked to established topological network metrics. We discuss how those findings could contribute to an understanding of the changes in functional brain networks.
Published in: Journal of Physics: Complexity, 10.1088/2632-072X/ac202e, IOP