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A central finding in many cortical areas is that single neurons can match behavioral performance in the discrimination of sensory stimuli. However, whether this is true for natural behaviors involving complex natural stimuli remains unknown. Here we use the model system of songbirds to address this problem. Specifically, we investigate whether neurons in(More)
In many cortical and subcortical areas, neurons are known to modulate their average firing rate in response to certain external stimulus features. It is widely believed that information about the stimulus features is coded by a weighted average of the neural responses. Recent theoretical studies have shown that the information capacity of such a coding(More)
Theoretical and experimental studies of distributed neuronal representations of sensory and behavioral variables usually assume that the tuning of the mean firing rates is the main source of information. However, recent theoretical studies have investigated the effect of cross-correlations in the trial-to-trial fluctuations of the neuronal responses on the(More)
It has been suggested that excitatory and inhibitory inputs to cortical cells are balanced, and that this balance is important for the highly irregular firing observed in the cortex. There are two hypotheses as to the origin of this balance. One assumes that it results from a stable solution of the recurrent neuronal dynamics. This model can account for a(More)
First spike latency has been suggested as a source of the information required for fast discrimination tasks. However, the accuracy of such a mechanism has not been analyzed rigorously. Here, we investigate the utility of first spike latency for encoding information about the location of a sound source, based on the responses of inferior colliculus (IC)(More)
Sensory processing is associated with gamma frequency oscillations (30-80 Hz) in sensory cortices. This raises the question whether gamma oscillations can be directly involved in the representation of time-varying stimuli, including stimuli whose time scale is longer than a gamma cycle. We are interested in the ability of the system to reliably distinguish(More)
How can the central nervous system make accurate decisions about external stimuli at short times on the basis of the noisy responses of nerve cell populations? It has been suggested that spike time latency is the source of fast decisions. Here, we propose a simple and fast readout mechanism, the temporal Winner-Take-All (tWTA), and undertake a study of its(More)
Population codes often rely on the tuning of the mean responses to the stimulus parameters. However, this information can be greatly suppressed by long range correlations. Here we study the efficiency of coding information in the second order statistics of the population responses. We show that the Fisher Information of this system grows linearly with the(More)
Population coding theory aims to provide quantitative tests for hypotheses concerning the neural code. Over the last two decades theory has focused on analyzing the ways in which various parameters that characterize neuronal responses to external stimuli affect the information content of these responses. This article reviews and provides an intuitive(More)
Understanding how populations of neurons encode sensory information is a major goal of systems neuroscience. Attempts to answer this question have focused on responses measured over several hundred milliseconds, a duration much longer than that frequently used by animals to make decisions about the environment. How reliably sensory information is encoded on(More)