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Estimating Receptive Fields from Responses to Natural Stimuli with Asymmetric Intensity Distributions

Lesica, NA; Ishii, T; Stanley, GB; Hosoya, T; (2008) Estimating Receptive Fields from Responses to Natural Stimuli with Asymmetric Intensity Distributions. PLOS ONE , 3 (8) , Article e3060. 10.1371/journal.pone.0003060. Green open access

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Abstract

The reasons for using natural stimuli to study sensory function are quickly mounting, as recent studies have revealed important differences in neural responses to natural and artificial stimuli. However, natural stimuli typically contain strong correlations and are spherically asymmetric (i.e. stimulus intensities are not symmetrically distributed around the mean), and these statistical complexities can bias receptive field (RF) estimates when standard techniques such as spike-triggered averaging or reverse correlation are used. While a number of approaches have been developed to explicitly correct the bias due to stimulus correlations, there is no complementary technique to correct the bias due to stimulus asymmetries. Here, we develop a method for RF estimation that corrects reverse correlation RF estimates for the spherical asymmetries present in natural stimuli. Using simulated neural responses, we demonstrate how stimulus asymmetries can bias reverse-correlation RF estimates (even for uncorrelated stimuli) and illustrate how this bias can be removed by explicit correction. We demonstrate the utility of the asymmetry correction method under experimental conditions by estimating RFs from the responses of retinal ganglion cells to natural stimuli and using these RFs to predict responses to novel stimuli.

Type: Article
Title: Estimating Receptive Fields from Responses to Natural Stimuli with Asymmetric Intensity Distributions
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003060
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0003060
Language: English
Additional information: © 2008 Lesica et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. NAL was supported by a Sigma Xi Grant-In-Aid of Research, a Post-doctoral Fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Grant HM1582-05-C-0009. TI and TH were supported by the RIKEN Research Fund.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > The Ear Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/99271
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