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Md Nasir Uddin Laskar, Luis Gonzalo Sanchez Giraldo, Odelia Schwartz; Deep neural networks capture texture sensitivity in V2. Journal of Vision 2020;20(7):21-1. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.7.21.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) trained on visual objects have shown intriguing ability to predict some response properties of visual cortical neurons. However, the factors (e.g., if the model is trained or not, receptive field size) and computations (e.g., convolution, rectification, pooling, normalization) that give rise to such ability, at what level, and the role of intermediate processing stages in explaining changes that develop across areas of the cortical hierarchy are poorly understood. We focused on the sensitivity to textures as a paradigmatic example, since recent neurophysiology experiments provide rich data pointing to texture sensitivity in secondary (but not primary) visual cortex (V2). We initially explored the CNN without any fitting to the neural data and found that the first two layers of the CNN showed qualitative correspondence to the first two cortical areas in terms of texture sensitivity. We therefore developed a quantitative approach to select a population of CNN model neurons that best fits the brain neural recordings. We found that the CNN could develop compatibility to secondary cortex in the second layer following rectification and that this was improved following pooling but only mildly influenced by the local normalization operation. Higher layers of the CNN could further, though modestly, improve the compatibility with the V2 data. The compatibility was reduced when incorporating random rather than learned weights. Our results show that the CNN class of model is effective for capturing changes that develop across early areas of cortex, and has the potential to help identify the computations that give rise to hierarchical processing in the brain (code is available in GitHub).
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