Parametric Copula-GP model for analyzing multidimensional neuronal and behavioral relationships

Nina Kudryashova*, Theoklitos Amvrosiadis, Nathalie Dupuy, Nathalie L Rochefort, Arno Onken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

One of the main goals of current systems neuroscience is to understand how neuronal populations integrate sensory information to inform behavior. However, estimating stimulus or behavioral information that is encoded in high-dimensional neuronal populations is challenging. We propose a method based on parametric copulas which allows modeling joint distributions of neuronal and behavioral variables characterized by different statistics and timescales. To account for temporal or spatial changes in dependencies between variables, we model varying copula parameters by means of Gaussian Processes (GP). We validate the resulting Copula-GP framework on synthetic data and on neuronal and behavioral recordings obtained in awake mice. We show that the use of a parametric description of the high-dimensional dependence structure in our method provides better accuracy in mutual information estimation in higher dimensions compared to other non-parametric methods. Moreover, by quantifying the redundancy between neuronal and behavioral variables, our model exposed the location of the reward zone in an unsupervised manner (i.e., without using any explicit cues about the task structure). These results demonstrate that the Copula-GP framework is particularly useful for the analysis of complex multidimensional relationships between neuronal, sensory and behavioral variables.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1009799
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2022


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