The transient precision of integrate and fire neurons: effect of background activity and noise

J Comput Neurosci. May-Jun 2001;10(3):303-11. doi: 10.1023/a:1011268215708.


We study the response of an integrate and fire neuron to a randomly timed step stimulus. We calculate the latency to the first spike after stimulus onset and its jitter. Background activity, seen in most neurons, reduces latency but causes substantial jitter in the response, indicating a tradeoff between timing precision and latency. The effect of intrinsic noise and synaptic noise on this tradeoff is studied. For synaptic noise we find that, unexpectedly, jitter does not increase for larger synaptic amplitudes, instead, jitter is practically independent of synaptic amplitude. Constant intrinsic noise interacts counterintuitively with latency and jitter, and depending on the stimulus strength, noise shifts the tradeoff in either direction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts
  • Computer Simulation
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology