The brain is continuously bombarded by external stimuli, which are processed in different input systems. The intrinsic features of these sensory input systems remain yet unclear. Investigating topography and dynamics of input systems is the goal of our study in order to better understand the intrinsic features that shape their neural processing. Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging dataset, we measured neural topography and dynamics of the input systems during rest and task states. Neural dynamics were probed by scale-free activity, measured with the power-law exponent (PLE), as well as by order/disorder as measured with sample entropy (SampEn). Our main findings during both rest and task states are: 1) differences in neural dynamics (PLE, SampEn) between regions within each of the three sensory input systems 2) differences in topography and dynamics among the three input systems; 3) PLE and SampEn correlate and, as demonstrated in simulation, show non-linear relationship in the critical range of PLE; 4) scale-free activity during rest mediates the transition of SampEn from rest to task as probed in a mediation model. We conclude that the sensory input systems are characterized by their intrinsic topographic and dynamic organization which, through scale-free activity, modulates their input processing.
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