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Title: A statistical and information theoretic analysis of auditory coding in the ribbon synapse
Author: Woltmann, Daniela
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis investigates the neural coding strategy of the first coding synapse in the auditory system, the inner hair cell ribbon synapse. First, the distribution of the inter-spike intervals and the correlations between consecutive spikes in the experimental data were established for spontaneous release events in the absence of stimulation. This was then used as a benchmark to determine how well existing stochastic models of the inner hair cell ribbon synapse replicate the statistics of the experimental data. It was found that the Sumner model replicates the statistics well within behaviourally relevant timescales. The Sumner model was used as the basis for an information-theoretic analysis of synaptic coding. In order to estimate the information transmission across the synapse, the auditory pathway was first interpreted as a communication channel in the information theoretic sense. This, together with the Sumner model, allowed us then to use naturalistic speech inputs, in the form of the BKB sentences, to estimate the channel capacity of the ribbon synapse. Furthermore, the information rate and information efficiency of a population of auditory nerve fibres was estimated in order to probe the functional role of spontaneous release in auditory coding. It was found that the coding strategies differ for quiet sounds and conversational speech. For quiet sounds, the information rate and information efficiency are maximised by maximising the spontaneous release of all fibres in the population. However, for conversational speech the information efficiency is maximised by minimising the spontaneous release rate of at least one fibre, whereas the information rate is maximised by a distribution of medium to high spontaneous rate fibres.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QP Physiology