Apr 13, 2020

Accurate inference in parametric models reshapes neuroscientific interpretation and improves data-driven discovery

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Pratik S SachdevaK. E. Bouchard


A central goal of systems neuroscience is to understand the relationships amongst constituent units in neural populations and their modulation by external factors using high-dimensional and stochastic neural recordings. Statistical models, particularly parametric models, play an instrumental role in accomplishing this goal, because their fitted parameters can provide insight into the underlying biological processes that generated the data. However, extracting conclusions from a parametric model requires that it is fit using an inference procedure capable of selecting the correct parameters and properly estimating their values. Traditional approaches to parameter inference have been shown to suffer from failures in both selection and estimation. Recent development of algorithms that ameliorate these deficiencies raises the question of whether past work relying on such inference procedures have produced inaccurate systems neuroscience models, thereby impairing their interpretation. Here, we used the Union of Intersections, a statistical inference framework capable of state-of-the-art selection and estimation performance, to fit functional coupling, encoding, and decoding models across a battery of neural datasets. We found that, ...Continue Reading

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