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Novel manifestation of the noise-aided signal enhancement Tamborrino, Massimiliano


We discuss various type of noise-aided signal enhancements. Since not all stimulus levels can be decoded with the same accuracy, it is of paramount interest to determine which stimulus intensities can be discriminated most precisely. It is well known that the presence of noise corrupts signal transmission in linear systems. Nevertheless, noise may have a positive effect on signal processing in nonlinear systems, as confirmed by the stochastic resonance phenomenon. Stochastic resonance is typically observed in systems with a threshold in presence of a weak signal. However, the subthreshold regime is not a necessary condition when considering more than one neuron, since, for example, a suprathreshold signal may be also enhanced by noise in a network of threshold devices. Other phenomena where noise enhances the signal are for example coherence resonance and firing-rate resonance. We present a study of the decoding accuracy of the stimulus level based on either the first-spike latency coding or the rate coding (from the exact spike counting distribution) in a neuronal model as simple as the perfect integrate-and-fire model. We report counter-intuitive results, representing a novel manifestation of the noise-aided signal enhancement which differs fundamentally from the usual kinds reported on.

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