Creation through Polychronization

John Matthias


I have recently suggested that some of the processes involved in the collaborative composition of new music could be analogous to several ideas introduced by Izhikevich in his theory of cortical spiking neurons and simple memory, a process which he calls Polychronization. In the Izhikevich model, the evocation of simple memories is achieved by the sequential re-firing of the same Polychronous group of neurons which was initially created in the cerebral cortex by the sensual stimulus. Each firing event within the group is contingent upon the previous firing event and, in particular, contingent upon the timing of the firings, due to a phenomenon known as “Spike Timing Dependent Plasticity.” I argue in this article that the collaborative creation of new music involves contingencies which form a Polychronous group across space and time which helps to create a temporary shared memorial space between the collaborators.


collaboration; composition; polychronization; spike timing dependent plasticity

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