Quantifying location-specific information in the discharge of rat hippocampal place cells

A. V. Olypher, P. Lánský, R. U. Muller, A. A. Fenton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The informational content in the location-specific discharge of rat hippocampal cells is usually quantified by an average for the entire behaviorally accessible space. In contrast to such 'global' information measures, we consider here information that can be obtained from 'local' spike counts at each position. The properties of these local information measures are first illustrated using simulated data with predetermined distributions of location-specific spike counts. Next, place cell recordings from rats foraging in a cylindrical arena with two cue cards on its walls are analyzed; time windows as short as 100 ms were used to accumulate spike counts in locations. We show that information at the centers of firing fields is higher for fields nearer to the cues. Neither firing rates or 'global' information measures detected differences between fields near and far from the cues. Thus, analyses of the location-specific information provides a new valuable tool for studying the location-specific activity of rat hippocampal cells. Generalizations of location-specific information can be used to investigate place cell responses to other factors such as running speed or the state of the hippocampal EEG in addition to current position.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-135
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 15 2003


  • Location-specific information
  • Place cell
  • Rat hippocampus
  • Spike count

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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