The sigmoidal tuning curve that maximizes the mutual information for a Poisson neuron, or population of Poisson neurons, is obtained. The optimal tuning curve is found to have a discrete structure that results in a quantization of the input signal. The number of quantization levels undergoes a hierarchy of phase transitions as the length of the coding window is varied. We postulate, using the mammalian auditory system as an example, that the presence of a subpopulation structure within a neural population is consistent with an optimal neural code.
Bibliographical note© 2009 The American Physical Society.
- neurological models
- Poisson distribution
- sensory thresholds
- synaptic transmission