Analog and digital codes in the brain

Yasuhiro Mochizuki*, Shigeru Shinomoto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


It has long been debated whether information in the brain is coded at the rate of neuronal spiking or at the precise timing of single spikes. Although this issue is essential to the understanding of neural signal processing, it is not easily resolved because the two mechanisms are not mutually exclusive. We suggest revising this coding issue so that one hypothesis is uniquely selected for a given spike train. To this end, we decide whether the spike train is likely to transmit a continuously varying analog signal or switching between active and inactive states. The coding hypothesis is selected by comparing the likelihood estimates yielded by empirical Bayes and hidden Markov models on individual data. The analysis method is applicable to generic event sequences, such as earthquakes, machine noises, and human communications, and enhances the gain in decoding signals and infers underlying activities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number022705
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Feb 4
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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