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What can spike train distances tell us about the neural code?
Chicharro Raventós, Daniel; Kreuz, Thomas; Andrzejak, Ralph Gregor
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Time scale parametric spike train distances like the Victor and the van Rossum distancesare often applied to study the neural code based on neural stimuli discrimination.Different neural coding hypotheses, such as rate or coincidence coding,can be assessed by combining a time scale parametric spike train distance with aclassifier in order to obtain the optimal discrimination performance. The time scalefor which the responses to different stimuli are distinguished best is assumed to bethe discriminative precision of the neural code. The relevance of temporal codingis evaluated by comparing the optimal discrimination performance with the oneachieved when assuming a rate code.We here characterize the measures quantifying the discrimination performance,the discriminative precision, and the relevance of temporal coding. Furthermore,we evaluate the information these quantities provide about the neural code. Weshow that the discriminative precision is too unspecific to be interpreted in termsof the time scales relevant for encoding. Accordingly, the time scale parametricnature of the distances is mainly an advantage because it allows maximizing thediscrimination performance across a whole set of measures with different sensitivitiesdetermined by the time scale parameter, but not due to the possibility toexamine the temporal properties of the neural code.
DC is supported by the grant 2010FI-B2 00079 of the ”Comissionat per a Universitatsi Recerca del Departament d’Innovació, Universitats i Empresa de la Generalitatde Catalunya i del Fons Social Europeu” and grant 2008BE1 00166 of the ”Comissionat per a Universitats i Recerca del Departament d’Innovació, Universitats i Empresa de la Generalitat de Catalunya”. RGA acknowledges grant BFU2007-61710 of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science.
Xarxes neuronals (Informàtica)
Neurociència computacional
Spike trains
Spike train distances
Mutual information
Temporal coding
Neural coding
(c) 2011 Elsevier. Published article is available at:

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