Coding of visual information by precisely correlated spikes in the lateral geniculate nucleus

Nat Neurosci. 1998 Oct;1(6):501-7. doi: 10.1038/2217.


Correlated firing among neurons is widespread in the nervous system. Precisely correlated spiking, occurring on a millisecond time scale, has recently been observed among neurons in the lateral geniculate nucleus with overlapping receptive fields. We have used an information-theoretic analysis to examine the role of these correlations in visual coding. Considerably more information can be extracted from two cells if temporal correlations between them are considered. The percentage increase in information depends on the degree of correlation; the average increase is approximately 20% for strongly correlated pairs. Thus, precise temporal correlation could be used as an additional information channel from thalamus to visual cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Geniculate Bodies / cytology
  • Geniculate Bodies / physiology*
  • Information Theory
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Pathways / cytology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*