Fokker–Planck approach to neural networks and to decision problems
A unique method for stochastic models in computational and cognitive neuroscience
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, 10115, Berlin, Germany
2 Physics Department, Humboldt University Berlin, 12489, Berlin, Germany
Accepted: 23 April 2021
Published online: 22 June 2021
We review applications of the Fokker–Planck equation for the description of systems with event trains in computational and cognitive neuroscience. The most prominent example is the spike trains generated by integrate-and-fire neurons when driven by correlated (colored) fluctuations, by adaptation currents and/or by other neurons in a recurrent network. We discuss how for a general Gaussian colored noise and an adaptation current can be incorporated into a multidimensional Fokker–Planck equation by Markovian embedding for systems with a fire-and-reset condition and how in particular the spike-train power spectrum can be determined by this equation. We then review how this framework can be used to determine the self-consistent correlation statistics in a recurrent network in which the colored fluctuations arise from the spike trains of statistically similar neurons. We then turn to the popular drift-diffusion models for binary decisions in cognitive neuroscience and demonstrate that very similar Fokker–Planck equations (with two instead of only one threshold) can be used to study the statistics of sequences of decisions. Specifically, we present a novel two-dimensional model that includes an evidence variable and an expectancy variable that can reproduce salient features of key experiments in sequential decision making.
© The Author(s) 2021
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