Gal Chechik, Amir Globerson, M. Anderson, E. Young, Israel Nelken, Naftali Tishby
The way groups of auditory neurons interact to code acoustic in(cid:173) formation is investigated using an information theoretic approach. We develop measures of redundancy among groups of neurons, and apply them to the study of collaborative coding efficiency in two processing stations in the auditory pathway: the inferior colliculus (IC) and the primary auditory cortex (AI). Under two schemes for the coding of the acoustic content, acoustic segments coding and stimulus identity coding, we show differences both in information content and group redundancies between IC and AI neurons. These results provide for the first time a direct evidence for redundancy reduction along the ascending auditory pathway, as has been hy(cid:173) pothesized for theoretical considerations [Barlow 1959,2001]. The redundancy effects under the single-spikes coding scheme are signif(cid:173) icant only for groups larger than ten cells, and cannot be revealed with the redundancy measures that use only pairs of cells. The results suggest that the auditory system transforms low level rep(cid:173) resentations that contain redundancies due to the statistical struc(cid:173) ture of natural stimuli, into a representation in which cortical neu(cid:173) rons extract rare and independent component of complex acoustic signals, that are useful for auditory scene analysis.