An on going debate in neuroscience has been whether the neurons encode information in rate of firing or in the timing of individual firings. This is an extremely important question with respect to cognitive computing.
A study published by Yang Yang, Michael R DeWeese, Gonzalo Otazu, Anthony M Zador in Nature Neuroscience provides support for "spike-timing" hypothesis.
Millisecond-scale differences in neural activity in auditory cortex can drive decisions
Neurons in the auditory cortex can lock to the fine timing of acoustic stimuli with millisecond precision, but it is not known whether this precise spike timing can be used to guide decisions. We used chronically implanted microelectrode pairs to stimulate neurons in the rat auditory cortex directly and found that rats can exploit differences in the timing of cortical activity that are as short as 3 ms to guide decisions.