PASCAL - Pattern Analysis, Statistical Modelling and Computational Learning

Gaussian-process factor analysis for low-dimensional single-trial analysis of neural population activity
B.M. Yu, John Cunningham, G. Santhanam, A. Afshar, S.I. Ryu and K.V. Shenoy
In: Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 21, December 2008, Vancouver, Canada.


We consider the problem of extracting smooth, low-dimensional neural trajecto- ries that summarize the activity recorded simultaneously from tens to hundreds of neurons on individual experimental trials. Current methods for extracting neural trajectories involve a two-stage process: the data are first “denoised” by smooth- ing over time, then a static dimensionality reduction technique is applied. We first describe extensions of the two-stage methods that allow the degree of smoothing to be chosen in a principled way, and account for spiking variability that may vary both across neurons and across time. We then present a novel method for extract- ing neural trajectories, Gaussian-process factor analysis (GPFA), which unifies the smoothing and dimensionality reduction operations in a common probabilis- tic framework. We applied these methods to the activity of 61 neurons recorded simultaneously in macaque premotor and motor cortices during reach planning and execution. By adopting a goodness-of-fit metric that measures how well the activity of each neuron can be predicted by all other recorded neurons, we found that GPFA provided a better characterization of the population activity than the two-stage methods.

EPrint Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Project Keyword:Project Keyword UNSPECIFIED
Subjects:Theory & Algorithms
ID Code:5803
Deposited By:John Cunningham
Deposited On:08 March 2010