Encyclopedia of Computational Neuroscience

Living Edition
| Editors: Dieter Jaeger, Ranu Jung

Applications of Information Theory to Analysis of Neural Data

  • Simon R. Schultz
  • Robin A. A. Ince
  • Stefano Panzeri
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7320-6_280-1


Information theory is a practical and theoretical framework developed for the study of communication over noisy channels. Its probabilistic basis and capacity to relate statistical structure to function make it ideally suited for studying information flow in the nervous system. It has a number of useful properties: it is a general measure sensitive to any relationship, not only linear effects; it has meaningful units which in many cases allow direct comparison between different experiments; and it can be used to study how much information can be gained by observing neural responses in single trials, rather than in averages over multiple trials. A variety of information-theoretic quantities are commonly used in neuroscience – (see entry “Definitions of Information-Theoretic Quantities”). In this entry we review some applications of information theory in neuroscience to study encoding of information in both single neurons and neuronal populations.

Detailed Description



Mutual Information Neural Activity Spike Train Bold Signal Local Field Potential 
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Research is supported by the SI-CODE (FET-Open, FP7-284533) project and by the ABC and NETT (People Programme Marie Curie Actions PITN-GA-2011-290011 and PITN-GA-2011-289146) projects of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7 2007–2013.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon R. Schultz
    • 1
  • Robin A. A. Ince
    • 2
  • Stefano Panzeri
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BioengineeringImperial College LondonSouth KensingtonUK
  2. 2.Institute of Neuroscience and PsychologyUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  3. 3.Center for Neuroscience and Cognitive SystemsItalian Institute of TechnologyRovereto (Tn)Italy