Evaluating causal relations in neural systems: granger causality, directed transfer function and statistical assessment of significance

Biol Cybern. 2001 Aug;85(2):145-57. doi: 10.1007/s004220000235.


We consider the question of evaluating causal relations among neurobiological signals. In particular, we study the relation between the directed transfer function (DTF) and the well-accepted Granger causality, and show that DTF can be interpreted within the framework of Granger causality. In addition, we propose a method to assess the significance of causality measures. Finally, we demonstrate the applications of these measures to simulated data and actual neurobiological recordings.

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
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Macaca
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Sleep / physiology