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A Computational Model of Visual Recognition Memory via Grid Cells

Bicanski, A; Burgess, N; (2019) A Computational Model of Visual Recognition Memory via Grid Cells. Current Biology , 29 (6) 979-990.e4. 10.1016/j.cub.2019.01.077. Green open access

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Abstract

Models of face, object, and scene recognition traditionally focus on massively parallel processing of low-level features, with higher-order representations emerging at later processing stages. However, visual perception is tightly coupled to eye movements, which are necessarily sequential. Recently, neurons in entorhinal cortex have been reported with grid cell-like firing in response to eye movements, i.e., in visual space. Following the presumed role of grid cells in vector navigation, we propose a model of recognition memory for familiar faces, objects, and scenes, in which grid cells encode translation vectors between salient stimulus features. A sequence of saccadic eye-movement vectors, moving from one salient feature to the expected location of the next, potentially confirms an initial hypothesis (accumulating evidence toward a threshold) about stimulus identity, based on the relative feature layout (i.e., going beyond recognition of individual features). The model provides an explicit neural mechanism for the long-held view that directed saccades support hypothesis-driven, constructive perception and recognition; is compatible with holistic face processing; and constitutes the first quantitative proposal for a role of grid cells in visual recognition. The variance of grid cell activity along saccade trajectories exhibits 6-fold symmetry across 360 degrees akin to recently reported fMRI data. The model suggests that disconnecting grid cells from occipitotemporal inputs may yield prosopagnosia-like symptoms. The mechanism is robust with regard to partial visual occlusion, can accommodate size and position invariance, and suggests a functional explanation for medial temporal lobe involvement in visual memory for relational information and memory-guided attention.

Type: Article
Title: A Computational Model of Visual Recognition Memory via Grid Cells
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.01.077
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.01.077
Language: English
Additional information: © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: grid cells, memory-guided saccades, recognition memory, visual perception, vector navigation
UCL classification: UCL
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 > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10070835
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