Morocos and Harvey reveal new depths in ongoing activity in parietal cortex in mice. Information about cues, behavioral choices, etc were not represented by single neurons in a winner-take fashion (the traditional view). Rather, different information is added to on-going patterns of activity that reflect the history of recent events. This could only be revealed via analysis of activity on single trials.
Morcos, Ari S., and Christopher D. Harvey. “History-dependent variability in population dynamics during evidence accumulation in cortex.” Nature Neuroscience (2016).
For another example of how single-trial analysis reveals much more than across-trial averaging, see:
Lunqvist, M., Rose, J., Herman, P, Brincat, S.L, Buschman, T.J., and Miller, E.K. (2016) Gamma and beta bursts underlie working memory. Neuron, published online March 17, 2016. View PDF »