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Pre-attentive segmentation in the primary visual cortex

Li, Z.; (1998) Pre-attentive segmentation in the primary visual cortex. (CBCL Papers 153 ). Center for Biological & Computational Learning (CBCL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Cambridge, US. Green open access

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Abstract

Stimuli outside classical receptive fields have been shown to exert significant influence over the activities of neurons in primary visual cortex. We propose that contextual influences are used for pre-attentive visual segmentation, in a new framework called segmentation without classification. This means that segmentation of an image into regions occurs with¬out classification of features within a region or comparison of features between regions. This segmentation framework is simpler than previous computational approaches, making it implementable by V1 mechanisms, though higher level visual mechanisms are needed to refine its output. However, it easily handles a class of segmentation problems that are tricky in conventional methods. The cortex computes global region boundaries by detecting the breakdown of homogeneity or translation invariance in the input, using local intra-cortical interactions mediated by the horizontal connections. The difference between contextual influences near and far from region boundaries makes neural activities near region boundaries higher than elsewhere, making boundaries more salient for perceptual pop-out. This proposal is implemented in a biologically based model of V1, and demonstrated using examples of texture segmentation and figure-ground segregation. The model performs segmentation in exactly the same neural circuit that solves the dual problem of the enhancement of contours, as is suggested by experimental observations. Its behavior is compared with psychophysical and physiological data on segmentation, contour enhancement, and contextual influences. We discuss the implications of segmentation without classification and the predictions of our V1 model, and relate it to other phenomena such as asymmetry in visual search.

Type:Report
Title:Pre-attentive segmentation in the primary visual cortex
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version:http://cbcl.mit.edu/publications/memos-reports.html
Language:English
Additional information:© Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1998. This paper is made available for educational purposes only and not for profit or commercial use
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit

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