Nonlinear decoding of a complex movie from the mammalian retina Journal Article

Author(s): Botella-Soler, Vicente; Deny, Stephane; Martius, Georg; Marre, Olivier; Tkačik, Gašper
Article Title: Nonlinear decoding of a complex movie from the mammalian retina
Affiliation IST Austria
Abstract: Retina is a paradigmatic system for studying sensory encoding: the transformation of light into spiking activity of ganglion cells. The inverse problem, where stimulus is reconstructed from spikes, has received less attention, especially for complex stimuli that should be reconstructed “pixel-by-pixel”. We recorded around a hundred neurons from a dense patch in a rat retina and decoded movies of multiple small randomly-moving discs. We constructed nonlinear (kernelized and neural network) decoders that improved significantly over linear results. An important contribution to this was the ability of nonlinear decoders to reliably separate between neural responses driven by locally fluctuating light signals, and responses at locally constant light driven by spontaneous-like activity. This improvement crucially depended on the precise, non-Poisson temporal structure of individual spike trains, which originated in the spike-history dependence of neural responses. We propose a general principle by which downstream circuitry could discriminate between spontaneous and stimulus-driven activity based solely on higher-order statistical structure in the incoming spike trains.
Journal Title: PLoS Computational Biology
ISSN: 1553-7358
Publisher: Public Library of Science  
Date Published: 2018-05-10
Start Page: 1
End Page: 27
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006057
Notes: This work was supported by ANR TRAJECTORY, the French State program Investissements d’Avenir managed by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche [LIFESENSES: ANR-10- LABX-65], a EC grant from the Human Brain Project (FP7-720270)), and NIH grant U01NS090501 to OM, the Austrian Research Foundation FWF P25651 to VBS and GT. VBS is partially supported by contract MEC, Spain (Grant No. AYA2013-48623-C2-2, No. AYA2016-81065- C2-2 and FEDER Funds). SD was supported by a PhD fellowship from the region Ile-de-France. GM received funding from the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) in FP7/2007-2013 under REA grant agreement No.291734. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Open access: yes (OA journal)