Background Measures of spike train synchrony are widely used in both experimental and computational neuroscience. Time-scale independent and parameter-free measures, such as the ISI-distance, the SPIKE-distance and SPIKE-synchronization, are preferable to time scale parametric measures, since by adapting to the local firing rate they take into account all the time scales of a given dataset. New method In data containing multiple time scales (e.g. regular spiking and bursts) one is typically less interested in the smallest time scales and a more adaptive approach is needed. Here we propose the A-ISI-distance, the A-SPIKE-distance and A-SPIKE-synchronization, which generalize the original measures by considering the local relative to the global time scales. For the A-SPIKE-distance we also introduce a rate-independent extension called the RIA-SPIKE-distance, which focuses specifically on spike timing. Results The adaptive generalizations A-ISI-distance and A-SPIKE-distance allow to disregard spike time differences that are not relevant on a more global scale. A-SPIKE-synchronization does not any longer demand an unreasonably high accuracy for spike doublets and coinciding bursts. Finally, the RIA-SPIKE-distance proves to be independent of rate ratios between spike trains. Comparison with existing methods We find that compared to the original versions the A-ISI-distance and the A-SPIKE-distance yield improvements for spike trains containing different time scales without exhibiting any unwanted side effects in other examples. A-SPIKE-synchronization matches spikes more efficiently than SPIKE-synchronization. Conclusions With these proposals we have completed the picture, since we now provide adaptive generalized measures that are sensitive to firing rate only (A-ISI-distance), to timing only (ARI-SPIKE-distance), and to both at the same time (A-SPIKE-distance).
- Data analysis
- Spike train distances