Cluster-based analysis improves predictive validity of spike-triggered receptive field estimates.

08:00 EDT 6th September 2017 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Cluster-based analysis improves predictive validity of spike-triggered receptive field estimates."

Spectrotemporal receptive field (STRF) characterization is a central goal of auditory physiology. STRFs are often approximated by the spike-triggered average (STA), which reflects the average stimulus preceding a spike. In many cases, the raw STA is subjected to a threshold defined by gain values expected by chance. However, such correction methods have not been universally adopted, and the consequences of specific gain-thresholding approaches have not been investigated systematically. Here, we evaluate two classes of statistical correction techniques, using the resulting STRF estimates to predict responses to a novel validation stimulus. The first, more traditional technique eliminated STRF pixels (time-frequency bins) with gain values expected by chance. This correction method yielded significant increases in prediction accuracy, including when the threshold setting was optimized for each unit. The second technique was a two-step thresholding procedure wherein clusters of contiguous pixels surviving an initial gain threshold were then subjected to a cluster mass threshold based on summed pixel values. This approach significantly improved upon even the best gain-thresholding techniques. Additional analyses suggested that allowing threshold settings to vary independently for excitatory and inhibitory subfields of the STRF resulted in only marginal additional gains, at best. In summary, augmenting reverse correlation techniques with principled statistical correction choices increased prediction accuracy by over 80% for multi-unit STRFs and by over 40% for single-unit STRFs, furthering the interpretational relevance of the recovered spectrotemporal filters for auditory systems analysis.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: PloS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
Pages: e0183914


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