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Talk by Dr. Eleonore Russo

Central Institute of Mental Health (ZI) Mannheim, Department of Theoretical Neuroscience

06 Oct 2017 09:30
06 Oct 2017
INM-6, Bldg. 15.22, Seminar Room 3009, 1. OG

Cell assemblies: a computational challenge

More than half a century ago, Hebb proposed that neurons may organize into coherent spatio-temporal activity patterns (‘cell assemblies’) to represent mental entities. Only recently, with the advance of multiple single-unit recording techniques, this core concept of computational and cognitive neuroscience has become experimentally accessible. From a statistical perspective, however, detecting these patterns in data still remains a major challenge: the presence of non-stationarity, the combinatorial explosion of multi-unit pattern configurations and the resulting necessity of a fast statistical test are only some of the difficulties to be faced when detecting cell assemblies.

In my talk I will introduce a novel statistical framework which treats the time scale, temporal resolution, and internal organization of coherent neural activity patterns as free parameters, to be determined from the data. Applying this methodology to multi-cell recordings from various brain areas we found that there is no universal cortical coding scheme, but that assembly structure strongly differs with brain area recorded and current task demands.


Prof. Sonja Grün