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Gaussian Partial Information Decomposition: Bias Correction and Application to High-dimensional Data

Praveen Venkatesh · Corbett Bennett · Sam Gale · Tamina Ramirez · Greggory Heller · Severine Durand · Shawn Olsen · Stefan Mihalas

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #400


Recent advances in neuroscientific experimental techniques have enabled us to simultaneously record the activity of thousands of neurons across multiple brain regions. This has led to a growing need for computational tools capable of analyzing how task-relevant information is represented and communicated between several brain regions. Partial information decompositions (PIDs) have emerged as one such tool, quantifying how much unique, redundant and synergistic information two or more brain regions carry about a task-relevant message. However, computing PIDs is computationally challenging in practice, and statistical issues such as the bias and variance of estimates remain largely unexplored. In this paper, we propose a new method for efficiently computing and estimating a PID definition on multivariate Gaussian distributions. We show empirically that our method satisfies an intuitive additivity property, and recovers the ground truth in a battery of canonical examples, even at high dimensionality. We also propose and evaluate, for the first time, a method to correct the bias in PID estimates at finite sample sizes. Finally, we demonstrate that our Gaussian PID effectively characterizes inter-areal interactions in the mouse brain, revealing higher redundancy between visual areas when a stimulus is behaviorally relevant.

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