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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

(p.153) 6 The Role of Variability in Populations of Spiking Neurons
Stochastic Methods in Neuroscience

Brent Doiron

Oxford University Press

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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