288 pp. per issue
6 x 9, illustrated
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Neural Computation

February 1, 2004, Vol. 16, No. 2, Pages 277-307
(doi: 10.1162/089976604322742038)
© 2003 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dynamic Analyses of Information Encoding in Neural Ensembles
Article PDF (5.13 MB)

Neural spike train decoding algorithms and techniques to compute Shan-non mutual information are important methods for analyzing how neural systems represent biological signals. Decoding algorithms are also one of several strategies being used to design controls for brain-machine inter-faces. Developing optimal strategies to desig n decoding algorithms and compute mutual information are therefore important problems in com-putational neuroscience. We present a general recursive filter decoding algorithm based on a point process model of individual neuron spiking activity and a linear stochastic state-space model of the biological signal. We derive from the algorithm new instantaneous estimates of the en-tropy, entropy rate, and the mutual information between the signal and the ensemble spiking activity. We assess the accuracy of the algorithm by computing, along with the decoding error, the true coverage probabil-ity of the approximate 0.95 confidence regions for the individual signal estimates. We illustrate the new algorithm by reanalyzing the position and ensemble neural spiking activity of CA1 hippocampal neurons from two rats foraging in an open circular environment. We compare the per-formance of this algorithm with a linear filter constructed by the widely used reverse correlation method. The median decoding error for Animal 1 (2) during 10 minutes of open foraging was 5.9 (5.5) cm, the median entropy was 6.9 (7.0) bits, the median information was 9.4 (9.4) bits, and the true coverage probability for 0.95 confidence regions was 0.67 (0.75) using 34 (32) neurons. These findings improve significantly on our pre-vious results and suggest an integrated approach to dynamically reading neural codes, measuring their properties, and quantifying the accuracy with which encoded information is extracted.