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What the success of brain imaging implies about the neural code

Guest, O; Love, BC; (2017) What the success of brain imaging implies about the neural code. Elife , 6 , Article e21397. 10.7554/eLife.21397. Green open access

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Abstract

The success of fMRI places constraints on the nature of the neural code. The fact that researchers can infer similarities between neural representations, despite fMRI's limitations, implies that certain neural coding schemes are more likely than others. For fMRI to succeed given its low temporal and spatial resolution, the neural code must be smooth at the voxel and functional level such that similar stimuli engender similar internal representations. Through proof and simulation, we determine which coding schemes are plausible given both fMRI's successes and its limitations in measuring neural activity. Deep neural network approaches, which have been forwarded as computational accounts of the ventral stream, are consistent with the success of fMRI, though functional smoothness breaks down in the later network layers. These results have implications for the nature of the neural code and ventral stream, as well as what can be successfully investigated with fMRI.

Type: Article
Title: What the success of brain imaging implies about the neural code
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.7554/eLife.21397
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.21397
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © Guest and Love. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: BOLD response, convolutional neural network, deep artificial neural network, human, neural code, neural plausibility, neuroscience, ventral stream
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1538539
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