How well can we estimate the information carried in neuronal responses from limited samples?

Neural Comput. 1997 Apr 1;9(3):649-65. doi: 10.1162/neco.1997.9.3.649.


It is difficult to extract the information carried by neuronal responses about a set of stimuli because limited data samples result in biased estimates. Recently two improved procedures have been developed to calculate information from experimental results: a binning-and-correcting procedure and a neural network procedure. We have used data produced from a model of the spatiotemporal receptive fields of parvocellular and magnocellular lateral geniculate neurons to study the performance of these methods as a function of the number of trials used. Both procedures yield accurate results for one-dimensional neuronal codes. They can also be used to produce a reasonable estimate of the extra information in a three-dimensional code, in this instance, within 0.05-0.1 bit of the asymptotically calculated value--about 10% of the total transmitted information. We believe that this performance is much more accurate than previous procedures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Poisson Distribution