Ascertaining neuron importance by information theoretical analysis in motor Brain-Machine Interfaces

Yiwen Wang, Jose C. Principe, Justin C. Sanchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Point process modeling of neural spike recordings has the potential to capture with high specificity the information contained in spike time occurrence. In Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMIs) the neural tuning characteristic assessed from neural spike recordings can distinguish neuron importance in terms of its modulation with the movement task. Consequently, it improves generalization and reduces significantly computation in previous decoding algorithms, where models reconstruct the kinematics from recorded activities of hundreds of neurons. We propose to apply information theoretical analysis based on an instantaneous tuning model to extract the important neuron subsets for point process decoding on BMI. The cortical distribution of extracted neuron subsets is analyzed and the statistical decoding performance using subset selection is studied with respect to different number of neurons and compared to the one by the full neuron ensemble. With much less computation, the extracted importance neurons provide comparable kinematic reconstructions compared to the full neuron ensemble. The performance of the extracted subset is compared to the random selected subset with same number of neurons to further validate the effectiveness of the subset-extraction approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-790
Number of pages10
JournalNeural Networks
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Brain-Machine Interfaces
  • Information theoretical analysis
  • Kinematics decoding
  • Neuron importance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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