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This paper describes and validates a novel framework using the Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) algorithm for parameter estimation and model selection in models of mesoscale brain network activity. We provide a proof of principle, first pass validation of this framework using a set of neural mass models of the cortico-basal ganglia thalamic circuit inverted upon spectral features from experimental, in vivo recordings. This optimization scheme relaxes an assumption of fixed-form posteriors (i.e. the Laplace approximation) taken in previous approaches to inverse modelling of spectral features. This enables the exploration of model dynamics beyond that approximated from local linearity assumptions and so fit to explicit, numerical solutions of the underlying non-linear system of equations. In this first paper, we establish a face validation of the optimization procedures in terms of: (i) the ability to approximate posterior densities over parameters that are plausible given the known causes of the data; (ii) the ability of the model comparison procedures to yield posterior model probabilities that can identify the model structure known to generate the data; and (iii) the robustness of these procedures to local minima in the face of different starting conditions. Finally, as an illustrative application we show (iv) that model comparison can yield plausible conclusions given the known neurobiology of the cortico-basal ganglia-thalamic circuit in Parkinsonism. These results lay the groundwork for future studies utilizing highly nonlinear or brittle models that can explain time dependant dynamics, such as oscillatory bursts, in terms of the underlying neural circuits.

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Brain dynamics, Circuits, Inverse modelling, Networks, Oscillations, Parkinsonism