Paper: Time-Frequency analysis of neuronal populations with instantaneous resolution based on Noise-Assisted Multivariate Empirical Mode Decomposition

Javier Alegre-Cortés, Cristina Soto-Sánchez, Álvaro G. Pizá, Ana L. Albarracín, Fernando D. Farfán, Carmelo J. Felice, Eduardo Fernández
Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 2016. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2016.03.018


Linear analysis has classically provided powerful tools for understanding the behavior of neural populations, but the neuron responses to real-world stimulation are nonlinear under some conditions, and many neuronal components demonstrate strong nonlinear behavior. In spite of this, temporal and frequency dynamics of neural populations to sensory stimulation have been usually analyzed with linear approaches.

New method

In this paper, we propose the use of Noise-Assisted Multivariate Empirical Mode Decomposition (NA-MEMD), a data-driven template-free algorithm, plus the Hilbert transform as a suitable tool for analyzing population oscillatory dynamics in a multi-dimensional space with instantaneous frequency (IF) resolution.


The proposed approach was able to extract oscillatory information of neurophysiological data of deep vibrissal nerve and visual cortex multiunit recordings that were not evidenced using linear approaches with fixed bases such as the Fourier analysis.

Comparison with existing methods

Texture discrimination analysis performance was increased when Noise-Assisted Multivariate Empirical Mode plus Hilbert transform was implemented, compared to linear techniques. Cortical oscillatory population activity was analyzed with precise time–frequency resolution. Similarly, NA-MEMD provided increased time–frequency resolution of cortical oscillatory population activity.


Noise-Assisted Multivariate Empirical Mode Decomposition plus Hilbert transform is an improved method to analyze neuronal population oscillatory dynamics overcoming linear and stationary assumptions of classical methods.

Avalaible in: ScienceDirect