Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 15 (NIPS 2002)
A framework is introduced for assessing the encoding accuracy and the discriminational ability of a population of neurons upon simul- taneous presentation of multiple stimuli. Minimal square estima- tion errors are obtained from a Fisher information analysis in an abstract compound space comprising the features of all stimuli. Even for the simplest case of linear superposition of responses and Gaussian tuning, the symmetries in the compound space are very di(cid:11)erent from those in the case of a single stimulus. The analysis allows for a quantitative description of attentional e(cid:11)ects and can be extended to include neural nonlinearities such as nonclassical receptive (cid:12)elds.