Impact of higher-order correlations on coincidence distributions of massively parallel data

Sonja Grün, Moshe Abeles, Markus Diesmann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The signature of neuronal assemblies is the higher-order correlation structure of the spiking activity of the participating neurons. Due to the rapid progress in recording technology the massively parallel data required to search for such signatures are now becoming available. However, existing statistical analysis tools are severely limited by the combinatorial explosion in the number of spike patterns to be considered. Therefore, population measaures need to be constructed reducing the number of tests and the recording time required, potentially for the price of being able to answer only a restricted set of questions. Here we investigate the population histogram of the time course of neuronal activity as the simplest example. The amplitude distribution of this histogram is called the complexity distribution. Independent of neuron identity it describes the probability to observe a particular number of synchronous spikes. On the basis of two models we illustrate that in the presence of higher-order correlations already the complexity distribution exhibits characteristic deviations from expectation. The distribution reflects the presence of correlation of a given order in the data near the corresponding complexity. However, depending on the details of the model also the regime of low complexities may be perturbed. In conclusion we propose that, for certain research questions, new statistical tools can overcome the problems caused by the combinatorial explosion in massively parallel recordings by evaluating features of the complexity distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDynamic Brain - from Neural Spikes to Behaviors - 12th International Summer School on Neural Networks, Revised Lectures
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)3540888527, 9783540888529
StatePublished - 2008
Event12th International Summer School on Neural Networks - Erice, Italy
Duration: 5 Dec 200712 Dec 2007

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume5286 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference12th International Summer School on Neural Networks


  • Higher-order synchrony
  • Massively
  • Parallel spike trains
  • Spike synchronization


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