Computing linear approximations to nonlinear neuronal response

Melinda E. Koelling, Duane Q. Nykamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We present an approach to obtain nonlinear information about neuronal response by computing multiple linear approximations. By calculating local linear approximations centered around particular stimuli, one can obtain insight into stimulus features that drive the response of highly nonlinear neurons, such as neurons highly selective to a small set of stimuli. We implement this approach based on stimulus-spike correlation (i.e., reverse correlation or spike-triggered average) methods. We illustrate the benefits of these linear approximations with a simplified two-dimensional model and a model of an auditory neuron that is highly selective to particular features of a song.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-313
Number of pages28
JournalNetwork: Computation in Neural Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Teresa Nick and Steve Kerrigan for helpful discussions. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation grant DMS-0719724 (DQN).


  • Linear kernel
  • Reverse correlation
  • Spike-triggered average
  • Wiener analysis


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