Cooperative and competitive spreading dynamics on the human connectome
Increasingly detailed data on the network topology of neural circuits create a need for theoretical principles that explain how these networks shape neural communication. Here we use a model of cascade spreading to reveal architectural features of human brain networks that facilitate spreading. Using an anatomical brain network derived from high-resolution diffusion spectrum imaging (DSI), we investigate scenarios where perturbations initiated at seed nodes result in global cascades that interact either cooperatively or competitively. We find that hub regions and a backbone of pathways facilitate early spreading, while the shortest path structure of the connectome enables cooperative effects, accelerating the spread of cascades. Finally, competing cascades become integrated by converging on polysensory associative areas. These findings show that the organizational principles of brain networks shape global communication and facilitate integrative function.