Synergy and Redundancy among Brain Cells of Behaving Monkeys

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 11 (NIPS 1998)

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Itay Gat, Naftali Tishby


Determining the relationship between the activity of a single nerve cell to that of an entire population is a fundamental question that bears on the basic neural computation paradigms. In this paper we apply an information theoretic approach to quantify the level of cooperative activity among cells in a behavioral context. It is possible to discriminate between synergetic activity of the cells vs . redundant activity, depending on the difference between the infor(cid:173) mation they provide when measured jointly and the information they provide independently. We define a synergy value that is pos(cid:173) itive in the first case and negative in the second and show that the synergy value can be measured by detecting the behavioral mode of the animal from simultaneously recorded activity of the cells. We observe that among cortical cells positive synergy can be found, while cells from the basal ganglia, active during the same task, do not exhibit similar synergetic activity.

titay,tishby} Permanent address: Institute of Computer Science and Center for Neural Computa(cid:173)

tion, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.