Spike-time reliability of layered neural oscillator networks

Kevin K. Lin, Eric Shea-Brown, Lai Sang Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the reliability of layered networks of coupled 'type I' neural oscillators in response to fluctuating input signals. Reliability means that a signal elicits essentially identical responses upon repeated presentations, regardless of the network's initial condition. We study reliability on two distinct scales: neuronal reliability, which concerns the repeatability of spike times of individual neurons embedded within a network, and pooled-response reliability, which concerns the repeatability of total synaptic outputs from a subpopulation of the neurons in a network. We find that neuronal reliability depends strongly both on the overall architecture of a network, such as whether it is arranged into one or two layers, and on the strengths of the synaptic connections. Specifically, for the type of single-neuron dynamics and coupling considered, single-layer networks are found to be very reliable, while two-layer networks lose their reliability with the introduction of even a small amount of feedback. As expected, pooled responses for large enough populations become more reliable, even when individual neurons are not. We also study the effects of noise on reliability, and find that noise that affects all neurons similarly has much greater impact on reliability than noise that affects each neuron differently. Qualitative explanations are proposed for the phenomena observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-160
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Computational Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Chaos
  • Neural oscillator
  • Random dynamical systems
  • Spike-time reliability
  • Spiking neural network
  • Stochastic dynamics
  • Theta neuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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