Recent theoretical and experimental work suggests a temporal structure of neuronal spike activity as a potential mechanism for solving the binding problem in the brain. In particular, recordings from cat visual cortex demonstrate the possibility that stimulus coherency is coded by synchronization of oscillatory neuronal responses. Coding by synchronized oscillatory activity has to avoid bulk synchronization within entire cortical areas. Recent experimental evidence indicates that incoherent stimuli can activate coherently oscillating assemblies of cells that are not synchronized among one another.
In this paper we show that appropriately designed excitatory delay connections can support the desynchronization of two-dimensional layers of delayed nonlinear oscillators. Closely following experimental observations, we then present two examples of stimulus-dependent assembly formation in oscillatory layers that employ both synchronizing and desynchronizing delay connections: First, we demonstrate the segregation of oscillatory responses to two overlapping but incoherently moving stimuli. Second, we show that the coherence of movement and location of two stimulus bar segments can be coded by the correlation of oscillatory activity.