Spike time attractors in cortical neurons

Paul Tiesinga,1 Jean-Marc Fellous,2 Peter Thomas,2 and Terrence Sejnowski2

1University of North Carolina
2Salk Institute

The responses of cortical neurons in vitro to fluctuating current injections show stereotyped patterns of spike-time relationships, and similar spike-time histograms occur across neurons with different firing rates, as recently observed by Reinagel & Reid in the cat lateral geniculate nucleus. The observed spike trains do not form renewal processes. Instead, these observations can be interpreted as evidence for socalled spike time attractors. I will introduce methods to detect and analyze spike time attractors. I will show how postsynaptic neurons can detect their non-renewal structure via short-term depression and facilitation. Furthermore, I will discuss how spike time attractors can form the basis for methods to assess synchrony between two spike trains and efficient methods to calculate mutual information between input stimuli and output spike trains.