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High-Fidelity Coding with Correlated Neurons

Author(s): da Silveira, Rava Azeredo; Berry, Michael J

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Abstract: Positive correlations in the activity of neurons are widely observed in the brain. Previous studies have shown these correlations to be detrimental to the fidelity of population codes or at best marginally favorable compared to independent codes. Here, we show that positive correlations can enhance coding performance by astronomical factors. Specifically, the probability of discrimination error can be suppressed by many orders of magnitude. Likewise, the number of stimuli encoded—the capacity—can be enhanced by similarly large factors. These effects do not necessitate unrealistic correlation values and can occur for populations with a few tens of neurons. We further show that both effects benefit from heterogeneity commonly seen in population activity. Error suppression and capacity enhancement rest upon a pattern of correlation. In the limit of perfect coding, this pattern leads to a ‘lock-in’ of response probabilities that eliminates variability in the subspace relevant for stimulus discrimination. We discuss the nature of this pattern and suggest experimental tests to identify it.
Publication Date: 20-Nov-2014
Electronic Publication Date: 20-Nov-2014
Citation: da Silveira, Rava Azeredo, Berry, Michael J. (2014). High-Fidelity Coding with Correlated Neurons. PLoS Computational Biology, 10 (11), e1003970 - e1003970. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003970
DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003970
EISSN: 1553-7358
Pages: 1 - 48
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: PLoS Computational Biology
Version: Author's manuscript

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