Apr 3, 2020

Fundamental bounds on the fidelity of sensory cortical coding

Oleg I RumyantsevMark J Schnitzer


How the brain processes information accurately despite stochastic neural activity is a longstanding question1. For instance, perception is fundamentally limited by the information that the brain can extract from the noisy dynamics of sensory neurons. Seminal experiments2,3 suggest that correlated noise in sensory cortical neural ensembles is what limits their coding accuracy4-6, although how correlated noise affects neural codes remains debated7-11. Recent theoretical work proposes that how a neural ensemble's sensory tuning properties relate statistically to its correlated noise patterns is a greater determinant of coding accuracy than is absolute noise strength12-14. However, without simultaneous recordings from thousands of cortical neurons with shared sensory inputs, it is unknown whether correlated noise limits coding fidelity. Here we present a 16-beam, two-photon microscope to monitor activity across the mouse primary visual cortex, along with analyses to quantify the information conveyed by large neural ensembles. We found that, in the visual cortex, correlated noise constrained signalling for ensembles with 800-1,300 neurons. Several noise components of the ensemble dynamics grew proportionally to the ensemble size and...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Laboratory mice
Afferent Neuron
Visual Cortex
Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells
Sensory Discrimination

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