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Stochastic Methods in Neuroscience$
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Carlo Laing and Gabriel J Lord

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199235070

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199235070.001.0001

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The Role of Variability in Populations of Spiking Neurons

The Role of Variability in Populations of Spiking Neurons

Chapter:
(p.153) 6 The Role of Variability in Populations of Spiking Neurons
Source:
Stochastic Methods in Neuroscience
Author(s):

Brent Doiron

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199235070.003.0006

In many brain areas neural response is significantly variable across repeated presentations of a stimulus. Typically, response variability limits coding performance; however we discuss various examples where stimulus-independent fluctuations serve to enhance neural coding. We focus first on the impact of single cell variability, and second on correlated variability across pairs of cells in a population. In both cases the threshold nonlinearity inherent in spike production produces unexpected relationships between input and output statistics, often that have potential advantages to neural function.

Keywords:   neural variability, integrate-and-fire neuron, spike correlation, neural coding

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