Multiple classifier systems for automatic sleep scoring in mice

Vance Gao*, Fred Turek, Martha Vitaterna

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Electroencephalogram (EEG) and electromyogram (EMG) recordings are often used in rodents to study sleep architecture and sleep-associated neural activity. These recordings must be scored to designate what sleep/wake state the animal is in at each time point. Manual sleep-scoring is very time-consuming, so machine-learning classifier algorithms have been used to automate scoring. New method: Instead of using single classifiers, we implement a multiple classifier system. The multiple classifier is built from six base classifiers: decision tree, k-nearest neighbors, naïve Bayes, support vector machine, neural net, and linear discriminant analysis. Decision tree and k-nearest neighbors were improved into ensemble classifiers by using bagging and random subspace. Confidence scores from each classifier were combined to determine the final classification. Ambiguous epochs can be rejected and left for a human to classify. Results: Support vector machine was the most accurate base classifier, and had error rate of 0.054. The multiple classifier system reduced the error rate to 0.049, which was not significantly different from a second human scorer. When 10% of epochs were rejected, the remaining epochs' error rate dropped to 0.018. Comparison with existing method(s): Compared with the most accurate single classifier (support vector machine), the multiple classifier reduced errors by 9.4%. The multiple classifier surpassed the accuracy of a second human scorer after rejecting only 2% of epochs. Conclusions: Multiple classifier systems are an effective way to increase automated sleep scoring accuracy. Improvements in autoscoring will allow sleep researchers to increase sample sizes and recording lengths, opening new experimental possibilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Autoscoring
  • Electroencephalogram
  • Machine learning
  • Mouse
  • Multiple classifier system
  • Sleep
  • Sleep scoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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