Efficiency and ambiguity in an adaptive neural code

Nature. 2001 Aug 23;412(6849):787-92. doi: 10.1038/35090500.


We examine the dynamics of a neural code in the context of stimuli whose statistical properties are themselves evolving dynamically. Adaptation to these statistics occurs over a wide range of timescales-from tens of milliseconds to minutes. Rapid components of adaptation serve to optimize the information that action potentials carry about rapid stimulus variations within the local statistical ensemble, while changes in the rate and statistics of action-potential firing encode information about the ensemble itself, thus resolving potential ambiguities. The speed with which information is optimized and ambiguities are resolved approaches the physical limit imposed by statistical sampling and noise.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Animals
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Diptera
  • Reaction Time
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*