We build a double-layer, multiple temporal-resolution classification model for decoding single-trial spatiotemporal patterns of spikes. The model takes spiking activities as input signals and binary behavioral or cognitive variables as output signals and represents the input-output mapping with a double-layer ensemble classifier. In the first layer, to solve the underdetermined problem caused by the small sample size and the very high dimensionality of input signals, B-spline functional expansion and L1-regularized logistic classifiers are used to reduce dimensionality and yield sparse model estimations. A wide range of temporal resolutions of neural features is included by using a large number of classifiers with different numbers of B-spline knots. Each classifier serves as a base learner to classify spatiotemporal patterns into the probability of the output label with a single temporal resolution. A bootstrap aggregating strategy is used to reduce the estimation variances of these classifiers. In the second layer, another L1-regularized logistic classifier takes outputs of first-layer classifiers as inputs to generate the final output predictions. This classifier serves as a meta-learner that fuses multiple temporal resolutions to classify spatiotemporal patterns of spikes into binary output labels. We test this decoding model with both synthetic and experimental data recorded from rats and human subjects performing memory-dependent behavioral tasks. Results show that this method can effectively avoid overfitting and yield accurate prediction of output labels with small sample size. The double-layer, multi-resolution classifier consistently outperforms the best single-layer, single-resolution classifier by extracting and utilizing multi-resolution spatiotemporal features of spike patterns in the classification.

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