Information theoretic approaches to understanding circuit function

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2012 Aug;22(4):653-9. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2012.06.005. Epub 2012 Jul 12.


The analysis of stimulus/response patterns using information theoretic approaches requires the full probability distribution of stimuli and response. Recent progress in using information-based tools to understand circuit function has advanced understanding of neural coding at the single cell and population level. In advances over traditional reverse correlation approaches, the determination of receptive fields using information as a metric has allowed novel insights into stimulus representation and transformation. The application of maximum entropy methods to population codes has opened a rich exploration of the internal structure of these codes, revealing stimulus-driven functional connectivity. We speculate about the prospects and limitations of information as a general tool for dissecting neural circuits and relating their structure and function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Humans
  • Information Theory*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Probability