Menara, Tommaso; Yuzhen Qin; Danielle S. Bassett and Fabio Pasqualetti

Remote synchronization describes a fascinating phenomenon where oscillators that are not directly connected via physical links evolve synchronously. This phenomenon is thought to be critical for distributed information processing in the mammalian brain, where long-range synchronization is empirically observed between neural populations belonging to spatially distant brain regions. Inspired by the growing belief that this phenomenon may be prompted by intermediate mediating brain regions, such as the thalamus , in this letter we derive a novel mechanism to achieve remote synchronization. This mechanism prescribes remotely synchronized oscillators to be stably connected to a cohesive relay in the network – a group of tightly connected oscillators mediating the distant ones. Remote synchronization unfolds whenever the stability of the subnetwork formed by relays and remotely synchronized oscillators is not affected by the rest of the oscillators. In accordance with our results, we find that remotely-synchronized cortico-thalamo-cortical circuits in the brain posses strong interconnection profiles. Finally, we demonstrate that the absence of cohesive relays prevents stable remote synchronization in a large class of cases, further validating our results.