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Decorrelation and efficient coding by retinal ganglion cells

Pitkow, Xaq and Meister, Markus (2012) Decorrelation and efficient coding by retinal ganglion cells. Nature Neuroscience, 15 (4). pp. 628-635. ISSN 1097-6256. PMCID PMC3725273. doi:10.1038/nn.3064.

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An influential theory of visual processing asserts that retinal center-surround receptive fields remove spatial correlations in the visual world, producing ganglion cell spike trains that are less redundant than the corresponding image pixels. For bright, high-contrast images, this decorrelation would enhance coding efficiency in optic nerve fibers of limited capacity. We tested the central prediction of the theory and found that the spike trains of retinal ganglion cells were indeed decorrelated compared with the visual input. However, most of the decorrelation was accomplished not by the receptive fields, but by nonlinear processing in the retina. We found that a steep response threshold enhanced efficient coding by noisy spike trains and that the effect of this nonlinearity was near optimal in both salamander and macaque retina. These results offer an explanation for the sparseness of retinal spike trains and highlight the importance of treating the full nonlinear character of neural codes.

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Meister, Markus0000-0003-2136-6506
Additional Information:© 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. Received 20 September 2011; accepted 13 February 2012; published online 11 March 2012. We thank the members of the Meister laboratory, M. Berry, T. Toyozumi and J.-P. Nadal for helpful advice. This work was funded by grants from the US National Institutes of Health to M.M. Author Contributions: X.P. and M.M. designed the study. X.P. performed all of the experiments, analysis and modeling. X.P. and M.M. wrote the article. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Issue or Number:4
PubMed Central ID:PMC3725273
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170405-082056107
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:75723
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:05 Apr 2017 15:53
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 16:35

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