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1: Proc Biol Sci. 1995 Sep 22;261(1362):407-10. Related Articles, Links

'Dynamics of neuronal interactions' cannot be explained by 'neuronal transients'.

Vaadia E, Aertsen A, Nelken I.

Department of Physiology, Hadassah School of Medicine, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.

In a recent paper, Vaadia et al. demonstrated that patterns of firing correlation between single neurons in the cortex of behaving monkeys can be modified within a fraction of a second. These changes occur in relation to sensory stimuli and behavioral events, and even without modulations of the neurons' firing rates. These findings call for a revision of prevailing models of neural coding that solely rely on single neuron firing rates. In a defense of these models, Friston put forward an alternative explanation, proposing that the observed correlation dynamics emerge solely from co-modulations of the firing rates of each of the neurons, while the strength of their interaction remains constant. To test this possibility we re-examined the data, adopting Friston's 'neuronal transients' model, and the associated equations and procedures. We found that, to explain the dynamic correlation between a pair of neurons, the alternative interpretation requires that each neuron's response to a single stimulus is composed of a relatively large number of independent components, which co-vary with their counterparts in the companion neuron. This large number of components and their shapes lead us to conclude that, although in principle possible, the neuronal transients model: (i) does not provide a simpler explanation of the experimental results; and (ii) cannot explain these results without itself deviating significantly from most rate code models.

PMID: 8587882 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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