I'm working through the tutorial of section 2.4 of "How to Build a Brain" and I've encountered this graph of a neuron tuning curve.
I understand the Y axis is the firing rate of the neuron, that each curve is the response of a single neuron (there are 100 neurons represented here) and that this plot shows a variety of "on" and "off" neurons, but what does the X axis represent? Is it the action potential input? Is X the value that the neuron represents by firing at that rate?
Please allow me to give some context around the tutorial. You first create a population of 100 neurons to represent an input that will vary from -1 to 1. You notice that this works well, but that the representation degrades when you exceed this range falls apart and you cannot represent anything the range past -2 to 2.
You then use a new population of neurons to build upon this newly acquired knowledge of how neurons can represent functions, to make them represent a 2-dimensional vector similar to the monkey-arm motor experiment performed by Georgopolous.
I could take the leap of faith here and just take for granted that neurons can represent functions and that the more neurons you have, the better approximation of the function you can get, but I feel like understanding these fundamental concepts are important.