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Relationship between decoding strategy, choice probabilities and neural correlations in perceptual decision-making task

MPS-Authors
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83951

Haefner,  RM
Research Group Computational Vision and Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83931

Gerwinn,  S
Research Group Computational Vision and Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department Empirical Inference, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84066

Macke,  JH
Research Group Computational Vision and Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department Empirical Inference, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83805

Bethge,  M
Research Group Computational Vision and Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Haefner, R., Gerwinn, S., Macke, J., & Bethge, M. (2011). Relationship between decoding strategy, choice probabilities and neural correlations in perceptual decision-making task. Poster presented at 41st Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Neuroscience 2011), Washington, DC, USA.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-B94C-1
Abstract
When monkeys make a perceptual decision about ambiguous visual stimuli, individual sensory neurons in MT and other areas have been shown to covary with the decision. This observation suggests that the response variability in those very neurons causes the animal to choose one over the other option. However, the fact that sensory neurons are correlated has greatly complicated attempts to link those covariances (and the associated choice probabilities) to a direct involvement of any particular neuron in a decision-making task. Here we report on an analytical treatment of choice probabilities in a population of correlated sensory neurons read out by a linear decoder. We present a closed-form solution that links choice probabilities, noise correlations and decoding weights for the case of fixed integration time. This allowed us to analytically prove and generalize a prior numerical finding about the choice probabilities being only due to the difference between the correlations within and between decision pools (Nienborg Cumming 2010) and derive simplified expressions for a range of interesting cases. We investigated the implications for plausible correlation structures like pool-based and limited-range correlations. We found that the relationship between choice probabilities and decoding weights is in general non-monotonic and highly sensitive to the underlying correlation structure. In fact, given empirical measures of the interneuronal correlations and CPs, our formulas allow to infer the individual neuronal decoding weights. We confirmed the feasibility of this approach using synthetic data. We then applied our analytical results to a published dataset of empirical noise correlations and choice probabilities (Cohen Newsome 2008 and 2009) recorded during a classic motion discriminating task (Britten et al 1992). We found that the data are compatible with an optimal read-out scheme in which the responses of neurons with the correct direction preference are summed and those with perpendicular preference, but positively correlated noise, are subtracted. While the correlation data of Cohen Newsome (being based on individual extracellular electrode recordings) do not give access to the full covariance structure of a neural population, our analytical formulas will make it possible to accurately infer individual read-out weights from simultaneous population recordings.