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Single Cell Signals: An Oculomotor Perspective.

D. Sparks, N. J. Gandhi
Published 2003 · Psychology, Medicine

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We examine the activity of individual neurons in three different brain areas where firing rate, number of spikes (the integral of discharge rate), and the location of the active cell within a motor map are used as coding schemes. The correlations between single cell activity and the parameters of a movement range from extremely tight (motoneurons) to non-existent (superior colliculus). We argue that the relationship between the activity of single cell activity and global aspects of behavior are best described as coarse coding for all three types of neuron. We also present evidence, in some cases in a preliminary and suggestive form, that the distribution of spikes in time, rather than average firing rate, may be important for all three neuron types, including those using a place code. Finally, we describe difficulties encountered in obtaining an estimate of the motor command when more than one oculomotor system is active.
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