Pooling and correlated neural activity
Department of Mathematics, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA
Correlations between spike trains can strongly modulate neuronal activity and affect the ability of neurons to encode information. Neurons integrate inputs from thousands of afferents. Similarly, a number of experimental techniques are designed to record pooled cell activity. We review and generalize a number of previous results that show how correlations between cells in a population can be amplified and distorted in signals that reflect their collective activity. The structure of the underlying neuronal response can significantly impact correlations between such pooled signals. Therefore care needs to be taken when interpreting pooled recordings, or modeling networks of cells that receive inputs from large presynaptic populations. We also show that the frequently observed runaway synchrony in feedforward chains is primarily due to the pooling of correlated inputs.