Targeted Neural Dynamical Modeling

Cole Hurwitz, Akash Srivastava, Kai Xu, Justin Jude, Matthew G. Perich, Lee E. Miller, Matthias H. Hennig

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Latent dynamics models have emerged as powerful tools for modeling and interpreting neural population activity. Recently, there has been a focus on incorporating simultaneously measured behaviour into these models to further disentangle sources of neural variability in their latent space. These approaches, however, are limited in their ability to capture the underlying neural dynamics (e.g. linear) and in their ability to relate the learned dynamics back to the observed behaviour (e.g. no time lag). To this end, we introduce Targeted Neural Dynamical Modeling (TNDM), a nonlinear state-space model that jointly models the neural activity and external behavioural variables. TNDM decomposes neural dynamics into behaviourally relevant and behaviourally irrelevant dynamics; the relevant dynamics are used to reconstruct the behaviour through a flexible linear decoder and both sets of dynamics are used to reconstruct the neural activity through a linear decoder with no time lag. We implement TNDM as a sequential variational autoencoder and validate it on simulated recordings and recordings taken from the premotor and motor cortex of a monkey performing a center-out reaching task. We show that TNDM is able to learn low-dimensional latent dynamics that are highly predictive of behaviour without sacrificing its fit to the neural data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 - 35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2021
EditorsMarc'Aurelio Ranzato, Alina Beygelzimer, Yann Dauphin, Percy S. Liang, Jenn Wortman Vaughan
PublisherNeural information processing systems foundation
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781713845393
StatePublished - 2021
Event35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Dec 6 2021Dec 14 2021

Publication series

NameAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
ISSN (Print)1049-5258


Conference35th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2021
CityVirtual, Online

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing


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