Information rates for sensory neurons in a wide variety of experimental systems have now been measured for both static [Optican and Richmond, 1987, Richmond and Optican, 1990, Tovee et al., 1993, Golomb et al., 1997] and time-varying [Bialek et al., 1991, Gabbiani and Koch, 1996, Dan et al., 1996, Gabbiani et al., 1996, Buracas et al., 1996, de Ruyter van Steveninck and Bialek, 1988, Rieke et al., 1997, Warland et al., 1997, Bair et al., 1997] stimuli. Most of the work on time-varying stimuli used reconstruction methods to obtain a lower bound on the transmitted information; typical values were in the range of 1-3 bits/spike. De Ruyter van Steveninck and Lauglin (1996) applied similar techniques to estimate information rates across graded synapses in the blowfly.
The present model is a direct extension of that considered in Stevens and Zador (1996), and closely related to that in DeWeese (1996). Both used a direct rather than a reconstruction method to estimate the information in a spiking neuron model. In Stevens and Zador (1996), the key assumption was that ISIs were independent, while in DeWeese (1996), the key assumption was that spikes were independent.