A parameter-free statistical test for neuronal responsiveness
Neurophysiological studies depend on a reliable quantification of whether and when a neuron responds to stimulation. Simple methods to determine responsiveness require arbitrary parameter choices, such as binning size, while more advanced model-based methods require fitting and hyperparameter tuning. These parameter choices can change the results, which invites bad statistical practice and reduces the replicability. New recording techniques that yield increasingly large numbers of cells would benefit from a test for cell-inclusion that requires no manual curation. Here, we present the parameter-free ZETA-test, which outperforms t-tests, ANOVAs, and renewal-process-based methods by including more cells at a similar false-positive rate. We show that our procedure works across brain regions and recording techniques, including calcium imaging and Neuropixels data. Furthermore, in illustration of the method, we show in mouse visual cortex that 1) visuomotor-mismatch and spatial location are encoded by different neuronal subpopulations; and 2) optogenetic stimulation of VIP cells leads to early inhibition and subsequent disinhibition.
As stated in the manuscript, open-source code for the ZETA-test is available at https://github.com/JorritMontijn/ZETA and https://github.com/JorritMontijn/zetapyFurthermore, code to reproduce the ZETA benchmarks are available at https://github.com/JorritMontijn/ZETA_analysis_repositoryThe Neuropixels data are annotated and available here: https://datadryad.org/stash/dataset/doi:10.5061/dryad.6djh9w108
ZETA benchmarking neuropixels dataDryad Digital Repository, doi:10.5061/dryad.6djh9w108.
Article and author information
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All experiments were approved by the animal ethics committee of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, in compliance with all relevant ethical regulations. Animals received anesthetics and analgesics where applicable, such as during surgeries, and every effort was made to minimize animal suffering.
- Mark CW van Rossum, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
- Received: July 6, 2021
- Accepted: September 22, 2021
- Accepted Manuscript published: September 27, 2021 (version 1)
- Version of Record published: November 26, 2021 (version 2)
- Version of Record updated: November 30, 2021 (version 3)
© 2021, Montijn et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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