Methods for studying functional interactions among neuronal populations

Methods Mol Biol. 2009;489:135-65. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-543-5_7.


How do populations of neurons work together to control behavior? To study this issue, our group simultaneously records from populations of neurons across multiple electrodes in multiple brain regions during operant behavior. Here, we describe methods for quantifying the relationship between neuronal population activity and performance of operant behavioral tasks. We describe statistical techniques, based on time- and trial-shuffling, that can establish the significance of correlations between multiple and simultaneously recorded spike trains. Then, we describe several approaches to studying functional interactions between neurons, including principal component analysis, cross-correlation analysis, analyses of rate correlations, and analyses of shared predictive information. Finally, we compare these techniques using a sample data set and discuss how the combined use of these techniques can lead to novel insights regarding neuronal interactions during behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*