Estimation and Identifiability of Model Parameters in Human Nociceptive Processing Using Yes-No Detection Responses to Electrocutaneous Stimulation

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    82 Downloads (Pure)


    Healthy or pathological states of nociceptive subsystems determine different stimulus-response relations measured from quantitative sensory testing. In turn, stimulus-responses measurements may be used to assess these states. In a recently developed computational model, six model parameters characterize activation of nerve endings and spinal neurons. However, both model nonlinearity and limited information in yes-no detection responses to electrocutaneous stimuli challenge to estimate model parameters. Here, we address the question whether and how one can overcome these difficulties for reliable parameter estimation. First, we fit the computational model to experimental stimulus-response pairs by maximizing the likelihood. To evaluate the balance between model fit and complexity, we evaluate the Bayesian Information Criterion. We find that the computational model is better than a conventional logistic model regarding the balance. Second, our theoretical analysis suggests to vary the pulse width among applied stimuli as a necessary condition to prevent structural non-identifiability. In addition, the numerically implemented profile likelihood approach reveals structural and practical non-identifiability. Our model-based approach with integration of psychophysical measurements can be useful for a reliable assessment of states of the nociceptive system.
    Original languageUndefined
    Article number1884
    Pages (from-to)1884
    Number of pages14
    JournalFrontiers in psychology
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2016


    • model-based experiments
    • EWI-27476
    • Quantitative sensory testing
    • IR-102417
    • Parameter estimation
    • parameter identifiability
    • METIS-319500
    • nociceptive processing

    Cite this