In recent years, a number of methods have been proposed to estimate the times at which a neuron spikes on the basis of calcium imaging data. However, quantifying the uncertainty associated with these estimated spikes remains an open problem. We consider a simple and well-studied model for calcium imaging data, which states that calcium decays exponentially in the absence of a spike, and instantaneously increases when a spike occurs. We wish to test the null hypothesis that the neuron did not spike—i.e., that there was no increase in calcium—at a particular timepoint at which a spike was estimated. In this setting, classical hypothesis tests lead to inflated Type I error, because the spike was estimated on the same data used for testing. To overcome this problem, we propose a selective inference approach. We describe an efficient algorithm to compute finite-sample |$p$|-values that control selective Type I error, and confidence intervals with correct selective coverage, for spikes estimated using a recent proposal from the literature. We apply our proposal in simulation and on calcium imaging data from the |$\texttt{spikefinder}$| challenge.

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