Capturing the response behavior of spiking neuron models with rate-based models facilitates the investigation of neuronal networks using powerful methods for rate-based network dynamics. To this end, we investigate the responses of two widely used neuron model types, the Izhikevich and augmented multi-adapative threshold (AMAT) models, to a range of spiking inputs ranging from step responses to natural spike data. We find (i) that linear-nonlinear firing rate models fitted to test data can be used to describe the firing-rate responses of AMAT and Izhikevich spiking neuron models in many cases; (ii) that firing-rate responses are generally too complex to be captured by first-order low-pass filters but require bandpass filters instead; (iii) that linear-nonlinear models capture the response of AMAT models better than of Izhikevich models; (iv) that the wide range of response types evoked by current-injection experiments collapses to few response types when neurons are driven by stationary or sinusoidally modulated Poisson input; and (v) that AMAT and Izhikevich models show different responses to spike input despite identical responses to current injections. Together, these findings suggest that rate-based models of network dynamics may capture a wider range of neuronal response properties by incorporating second-order bandpass filters fitted to responses of spiking model neurons. These models may contribute to bringing rate-based network modeling closer to the reality of biological neuronal networks.
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