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Statistical significance of coincident spikes: count-based versus rate-based statistics.
Gutig R, Aertsen A, Rotter S.
and Biophysics, Institute of Biology III, Albert-Ludwigs-University,
79104 Freiburg, Germany. firstname.lastname@example.org
by different conceptualizations of temporal neural coding schemes,
there has been recent interest in the search for signs of precisely
synchronized neural activity in the cortex. One method developed for
this task is unitary-event analysis. This method tests multiple single
neuron recordings for short epochs with significantly more coincident
spikes than expected from independent neurons. We reformulated the
statistical test underlying this method using a coincidence count
distribution based on empirical spike counts rather than on estimated
spike probabilities. In the case of two neurons, the requirement of
stationary firing rates, originally imposed on both neurons, can be
relaxed; only the rate of one neuron needs to be stationary, while the
other may follow an arbitrary time course. By analytical calculations
of the test power curves of the original and the revised method, we
demonstrate that the test power can be increased by a factor of two or
more in physiologically realistic regimes. In addition, we analyze the
effective significance levels of both methods for neural firing rates
ranging between 0.2 Hz and 30 Hz.
PMID: 11747536 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]