A Probabilistic Framework for Decoding Behavior From Calcium Imaging Data.

TitleA Probabilistic Framework for Decoding Behavior From Calcium Imaging Data.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsEtter G, Manseau F, Williams S
JournalFront Neural Circuits
Date Published2020

Understanding the role of neuronal activity in cognition and behavior is a key question in neuroscience. Previously, studies have typically inferred behavior from electrophysiological data using probabilistic approaches including Bayesian decoding. While providing useful information on the role of neuronal subcircuits, electrophysiological approaches are often limited in the maximum number of recorded neurons as well as their ability to reliably identify neurons over time. This can be particularly problematic when trying to decode behaviors that rely on large neuronal assemblies or rely on temporal mechanisms, such as a learning task over the course of several days. Calcium imaging of genetically encoded calcium indicators has overcome these two issues. Unfortunately, because calcium transients only indirectly reflect spiking activity and calcium imaging is often performed at lower sampling frequencies, this approach suffers from uncertainty in exact spike timing and thus activity frequency, making rate-based decoding approaches used in electrophysiological recordings difficult to apply to calcium imaging data. Here we describe a probabilistic framework that can be used to robustly infer behavior from calcium imaging recordings and relies on a simplified implementation of a naive Baysian classifier. Our method discriminates between periods of activity and periods of inactivity to compute probability density functions (likelihood and posterior), significance and confidence interval, as well as mutual information. We next devise a simple method to decode behavior using these probability density functions and propose metrics to quantify decoding accuracy. Finally, we show that neuronal activity can be predicted from behavior, and that the accuracy of such reconstructions can guide the understanding of relationships that may exist between behavioral states and neuronal activity.

Alternate JournalFront Neural Circuits
PubMed ID32499681
PubMed Central IDPMC7243991
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