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Martin. A Giese, Falk Fleischer, Vittorio Caggiano, Jörn Pomper, Peter Thier; Neural theory for the visual perception of goal-directed actions and perceptual causality. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1471. doi: 10.1167/14.10.1471.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The visual recognition of goal-directed movements even from impoverished stimuli, is a central visual function with high importance for survival and motor learning. In cognitive neuroscience and brain imaging a number of speculative theories have been proposed that suggest possible computational processes that might underlie this function. However, these theories typically leave it completely open how the proposed functions might be implemented by local cortical circuits. Complementing these approaches, we present a physiologically-inspired neural theory for the visual processing of goal-directed actions, which provides a unifying account for existing neurophysiological results on the visual recognition of hand actions in monkey cortex. The theory motivated, and partly correctly predicted specific computational properties of action-selective neurons in monkey cortex, which later could be verified physiologically. Opposed to several dominant theories in the field, the model demonstrates that robust view-invariant action recognition from monocular videos can be accomplished without a reconstruction of the three-dimensional structure of the effector, or a critical importance of an internal simulation of motor programs. As a 'side-effect', the model also reproduces simple forms of causality perception, predicting that these stimuli might be processed by similar neural structures as natural hand actions. Consistent with this prediction, F5 mirror neurons can be shown to respond selectively to such stimuli. This suggests that the processing of goal-directed actions might be accounted for by relatively simple neural mechanisms that are accessible by electrophysiological experimentation.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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