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- Open Access
Where are the most informative neurons?
© Teng and Levy; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013
- Published: 8 July 2013
- Discrimination Task
- Additive Noise
- Noisy Data
- Stimulus Location
- Tuning Curve
A simple stimulus evokes responses from a large population of neurons in many cortical areas. However, although many neurons are active, not all contribute equally to perception or motor planning. Studies of motion discrimination show that an animal's perceptual decisions are well correlated with responses from a relatively small fraction of MT neurons. There are similar findings in other systems. Such a subset of neurons is labeled "most informative", and arguably is the basis of a perceptual decision [1, 2].
In this study, we use a simple model of two (or two pools of) competing neurons to find the location of the "most informative" neurons in the context of error-minimization for a broad range of discrimination tasks. Although the peak and the maximum slope of a tuning curve are typically emphasized in sensory coding theories, the quantitative interaction described here requires one to consider the entire tuning curve. We start the analysis with a fine discrimination task, but the theory is general enough for a continuum of discrimination tasks, from fine to coarse.
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