Variance Based Measure for Optimization of Parametric Realignment Algorithms
Neuronal responses to sensory stimuli or neuronal responses related to behaviour are often extracted by averaging neuronal activity over large number of experimental trials. Such trial-averaging is carried out to reduce noise and to diminish the influence of other signals unrelated to the corresponding stimulus or behaviour. However, if the recorded neuronal responses are jittered in time with respect to the corresponding stimulus or behaviour, averaging over trials may distort the estimation of the underlying neuronal response. Temporal jitter between single trial neural responses can be partially or completely removed using realignment algorithms. Here, we present a measure, named difference of time-averaged variance (dTAV), which can be used to evaluate the performance of a realignment algorithm without knowing the internal triggers of neural responses. Using simulated data, we show that using dTAV to optimize the parameter values for an established parametric realignment algorithm improved its efficacy and, therefore, reduced the jitter of neuronal responses. By removing the jitter more effectively and, therefore, enabling more accurate estimation of neuronal responses, dTAV can improve analysis and interpretation of the neural responses.