Neurons in the mouse brain correlate with cryptocurrency price: a cautionary tale

10.24072/pcjournal.30 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 1 (2021), article no. e29.

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In this paper I report the discovery of neurons which showed a neural correlate with ongoing fluctuations of Bitcoin and Ethereum prices at the time of the recording. I used the publicly available dataset of Neuropixel recordings by the Allen Institute to correlate the firing rate of single neurons with cryptocurrency price. Out of ~40.000 recorded single neurons, ~70% showed a significant correlation with Bitcoin or Ethereum prices. Even when using the conservative Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons, ~35% of neurons showed a significant correlation, which is well above the expected false positive rate of 5%. These results were due to "nonsense correlations": when correlating two signals which both evolve slowly over time, the chances of finding a significant correlation between the two are much higher than when comparing signals which lack this property.
Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.30
Meijer, Guido 1

1 Champalimaud Centre for the Unkown - Lisbon, Portugal
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
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Meijer, Guido. Neurons in the mouse brain correlate with cryptocurrency price: a cautionary tale. Peer Community Journal, Volume 1 (2021), article  no. e29. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.30.

Peer reviewed and recommended by PCI : 10.24072/pci.cneuro.100002

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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