DOI: 10.14704/nq.2008.6.2.165

Information Conveyed by Neuron Populations: Firing Rate, Fluctuation and Synchrony

Hideo Hasegawa


Recent neuronal experiments have shown that a population of firing neurons may carry not only mean firing rate but also fluctuation and synchrony. In order to theoretically examine this possibility, we have investigated responses of neuronal ensembles to three kinds of inputs: mean-, fluctuation- and synchrony-driven inputs. Equations of motion for mean firing rate, fluctuation and synchrony in neuron ensembles described by the rate-code model, are derived with the use of the augmented moment method which was previously proposed for a study of stochastic ensembles with finite populations. Results calculated by the augmented moment method are in good agreement with those by direct simulations. It has been shown by the independent component analysis of our results that information on mean firing rate, fluctuation and synchrony may be independently conveyed in neuron populations. The calculated input-output relation of mean firing rates is shown to have higher sensitivity for larger multiplicative noise, as recently observed in prefrontal cortex.


neuron ensemble, population rate code, firing rate, fluctuation, synchrony

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