Department of Statistics Unitmark
Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Testing for, and Estimating Latency Effects for Poisson and non-Poisson Spike Trains

Publication Date

August, 2003

Publication Type

Tech Report


Valérie Ventura


Determining the variations in response latency of one or several neurons to a stimulus is of interest in different contexts. Two common problems concern correlating latency with a particular behavior, for example the reaction time to a stimulus, and adjusting tools for detecting synchronization between two neurons. We use two such problems to illustrate the latency testing and estimation methods developed in this paper. Our methods joins a growing number of latency testing and estimation methods, although they have their own advantages. Our test for latencies is a formal statistical test which produces a p-value. It is applicable for Poisson and non-Poisson spike trains via use of the bootstrap. Our estimation method is model free, and its performance compares favorably to other methods currently available, both in terms of efficiency and accuracy. Additionally, we show how our latency estimates can be used as starting values for other latency estimation methods.