Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 10 (2009), Issue 3, Pages 229-239
Original Article

Joint Probability-Based Neuronal Spike Train Classification

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA

Received 1 February 2008; Accepted 18 August 2008

Copyright © 2009 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neuronal spike trains are used by the nervous system to encode and transmit information. Euclidean distance-based methods (EDBMs) have been applied to quantify the similarity between temporally-discretized spike trains and model responses. In this study, using the same discretization procedure, we developed and applied a joint probability-based method (JPBM) to classify individual spike trains of slowly adapting pulmonary stretch receptors (SARs). The activity of individual SARs was recorded in anaesthetized, paralysed adult male rabbits, which were artificially-ventilated at constant rate and one of three different volumes. Two-thirds of the responses to the 600 stimuli presented at each volume were used to construct three response models (one for each stimulus volume) consisting of a series of time bins, each with spike probabilities. The remaining one-third of the responses where used as test responses to be classified into one of the three model responses. This was done by computing the joint probability of observing the same series of events (spikes or no spikes, dictated by the test response) in a given model and determining which probability of the three was highest. The JPBM generally produced better classification accuracy than the EDBM, and both performed well above chance. Both methods were similarly affected by variations in discretization parameters, response epoch duration, and two different response alignment strategies. Increasing bin widths increased classification accuracy, which also improved with increased observation time, but primarily during periods of increasing lung inflation. Thus, the JPBM is a simple and effective method performing spike train classification.