Application of Lempel–Ziv complexity to the analysis of neural discharges
Pattern matching is a simple method for studying the properties of information sources based on individual sequences IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory 44 2045. In particular, the normalized Lempel-Ziv complexity (Lempel and Ziv 1976 IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory 22 75-88), which measures the rate of generation of new patterns along a sequence, is closely related to such important source properties as entropy and information compression ratio. We make use of this concept to characterize the responses of neurons
... esponses of neurons of the primary visual cortex to different kinds of stimulus, including visual stimulation (sinusoidal drifting gratings) and intracellular current injections (sinusoidal and random currents), under two conditions (in vivo and in vitro preparations). Specifically, we digitize the neuronal discharges with several encoding techniques and employ the complexity curves of the resulting discrete signals as fingerprints of the stimuli ensembles. Our results show, for example, that if the neural discharges are encoded with a particular one-parameter method ('interspike time coding'), the normalized complexity remains constant within some classes of stimuli for a wide range of the parameter. Such constant values of the normalized complexity allow then the differentiation of the stimuli classes. With other encodings (e.g. 'bin coding'), the whole complexity curve is needed to achieve this goal. In any case, it turns out that the normalized complexity of the neural discharges in vivo are higher (and hence carry more information in the sense of Shannon) than in vitro for the same kind of stimulus.