Discussion

The simple PST diagram is seen to be a useful semiquantitative means of displaying the responses of a single neuron to a repeated stimulus, and allows the researcher to see at once if the neuron shows nonstationary behavior. Many sensory neurons exhibit adaptation and/or habituation to repeated stimuli.

The two-dimensional JPST diagram applied to two neurons allows conjectures to be made on the structure of models of the basic neural circuits involved in their responses. The JPST technique can be used with a mathematical neural model to verify putative neural circuit structures. By displaying dot densities as heights, a two-dimensional JPST diagram can be converted to a three-dimensional surface, which is easier to interpret.

The use of three-dimensional JPST dot volume displays derived from simultaneous recordings from three interneurons gives a common stimulus and is also potentially useful in deriving basic neural circuits. Its features are necessarily more complicated to interpret, however. Both the two- and three-neuron JPST displays are subject to error from nonstationary behavior of the neurons. The simple PST diagram easily detects nonstationary responses. However, because the addition of JPST data recorded for each stimulus is required to build up a display, nonstationarity means that JPST features may change during the stimulation process, creasing uncertain or fuzzy features. JPST features from stationary responses generally become more pronounced, certain, and reliable as the number of stimuli increases.

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