Informational basis of sensory adaptation: Entropy and single-spike efficiency in rat barrel cortex

Mehdi Adibi, Colin W.G. Clifford, Ehsan Arabzadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Weshowed recently that exposure to whisker vibrations enhances coding efficiency in rat barrel cortex despite increasing correlations in variability (Adibi et al., 2013). Here, to understand how adaptation achieves this improvement in sensory representation, we decomposed the stimulus information carried in neuronal population activity into its fundamental components in the framework of information theory. In the context of sensory coding, these components are the entropy of the responses across the entire stimulus set (response entropy) and the entropy of the responses conditional on the stimulus (conditional response entropy). We found that adaptation decreased response entropy and conditional response entropy at both the level of single neurons and the pooled activity of neuronal populations. However, the net effect of adaptation was to increase the mutual information because the drop in the conditional entropy outweighed the drop in the response entropy. The information transmitted by a single spike also increased under adaptation. As population size increased, the information content of individual spikes declined but the relative improvement attributable to adaptation was maintained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14921-14926
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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