Correspondence of Deep Neural Networks and the Brain for Visual Textures

7 Jun 2018  ·  Md Nasir Uddin Laskar, Luis G. Sanchez Giraldo, Odelia Schwartz ·

Deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) trained on objects and scenes have shown intriguing ability to predict some response properties of visual cortical neurons. However, the factors and computations that give rise to such ability, 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. We developed a quantitative approach for selecting a subset of the neural unit population from the CNN that best describes the brain neural recordings. We found that the first two layers of the CNN showed qualitative and quantitative correspondence to the cortical data across a number of metrics. This compatibility was reduced for the architecture alone rather than the learned weights, for some other related hierarchical models, and only mildly in the absence of a nonlinear computation akin to local divisive normalization. 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 facilitate understanding of the computations that give rise to hierarchical processing in the brain. read more

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