DOI: 10.1101/514315Jan 7, 2019Paper

Stochastic neural field model of stimulus-dependent variability in cortical neurons

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
P C Bressloff


We use stochastic neural field theory to analyze the stimulus-dependent tuning of neural variability in ring attractor networks. We apply perturbation methods to show how the neural field equations can be reduced to a pair of stochastic nonlinear phase equations describing the stochastic wandering of spontaneously formed tuning curves or bump solutions. These equations are analyzed using a modified version of the bivariate von Mises distribution, which is well-known in the theory of circular statistics. We first consider a single ring network and derive a simple mathematical expression that accounts for the experimentally observed bimodal (or M-shaped) tuning of neural variability. We then explore the effects of inter-network coupling on stimulus-dependent variability in a pair of ring networks. These could represent populations of cells in two different layers of a cortical hypercolumn linked via vertical synaptic connections, or two different cortical hypercolumns linked by horizontal patchy connections within the same layer. We find that neural variability can be suppressed or facilitated, depending on whether the inter-network coupling is excitatory or inhibitory, and on the relative strengths and biases of the external sti...Continue Reading

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