Universal statistical behavior of neural spike trains

Naama Brenner, Oded Agam, William Bialek, Rob R. De Ruyter Van Steveninck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The statistical properties of spike trains generated by a sensory neuron are studied. It is shown that the spike trains exhibit universal statistical behavior over short times, modulated by a strongly stimulus-dependent behavior over long times. This decomposition is accounted for by a “frequency integrator” model, under conditions of time scale separation. We provide explicit formulas for the statistical properties in both the universal and the stimulus-dependent regimes, which are in very good agreement with the data. The universal regime is characterized by a dimensionless free parameter, which is observed experimentally to remain constant under different external stimuli.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4000-4003
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number18
StatePublished - 2 Nov 1998


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