This letter proposes a novel method, multi-input, multi-output neuronal mode network (MIMO-NMN), for modeling encoding dynamics and functional connectivity in neural ensembles such as the hippocampus. Compared with conventional approaches such as the Volterra-Wiener model, linear-nonlinear-cascade (LNC) model, and generalized linear model (GLM), the NMN has several advantages in terms of estimation accuracy, model interpretation, and functional connectivity analysis. We point out the limitations of current neural spike modeling methods, especially the estimation biases caused by the imbalanced class problem when the number of zeros is significantly larger than ones in the spike data. We use synthetic data to test the performance of NMN with a comparison of the traditional methods, and the results indicate the NMN approach could reduce the imbalanced class problem and achieve better predictions. Subsequently, we apply the MIMO-NMN method to analyze data from the human hippocampus. The results indicate that the MIMO-NMN method is a promising approach to modeling neural dynamics and analyzing functional connectivity of multi-neuronal data.

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