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Natural scene statistics and the structure of orientation maps in the visual cortex

Hunt, Jonathan J., Giacomantonio, Clare E., Tang, Huajin, Mortimer, Duncan, Jaffer, Sajjida, Vorobyov, Vasily, Ericksson, Geoffery, Sengpiel, Frank ORCID: and Goodhill, Geoffrey J. 2009. Natural scene statistics and the structure of orientation maps in the visual cortex. NeuroImage 47 (1) , pp. 157-172. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.03.052

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Visual activity after eye-opening influences feature map structure in primary visual cortex (V1). For instance, rearing cats in an environment of stripes of one orientation yields an over-representation of that orientation in V1. However, whether such changes also affect the higher-order statistics of orientation maps is unknown. A statistical bias of orientation maps in normally raised animals is that the probability of the angular difference in orientation preference between each pair of points in the cortex depends on the angle of the line joining those points relative to a fixed but arbitrary set of axes. Natural images show an analogous statistical bias; however, whether this drives the development of comparable structure in V1 is unknown. We examined these statistics for normal, stripe-reared and dark-reared cats, and found that the biases present were not consistently related to those present in the input, or to genetic relationships. We compared these results with two computational models of orientation map development, an analytical model and a Hebbian model. The analytical model failed to reproduce the experimentally observed statistics. In the Hebbian model, while orientation difference statistics could be strongly driven by the input, statistics similar to those seen in experimental maps arose only when symmetry breaking was allowed to occur spontaneously. These results suggest that these statistical biases of orientation maps arise primarily spontaneously, rather than being governed by either input statistics or genetic mechanisms.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1053-8119
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2022 10:43

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