On March 12th we had a more than interesting talk by Adrià Tauste.
Modern neural recording technologies can monitor the activity of an ever-increasing number of neurons simultaneously. Conceptually, this exciting moment urges a paradigm shift from a single-unit (neurons) to network (population) hypotheses and analysis for understanding brain functions and disorders. In practice this motivates the application of advanced multivariate tools to population analysis guided by newly formulated questions. In this context, I am interested in analyzing how information about external stimuli is encoded, communicated and transformed by neurons to produce behavior. Motivated by this question I will present a study of simultaneous single-neuron recordings from two monkeys performing a decision-making task based on previously perceived stimuli. By using a non-parametric method to estimate directional correlations between many pairs of neurons we were able to infer a distributed network of interactions that was activated during the key stages of the task. Interestingly, these interactions mostly vanished when the monkeys received the stimuli but had no incentive to perform the task. I will end up discussing new directions of this work along both biological and methodological lines.