Object representation in the visual cortex

There is intense interest regarding object recognition in the cortex - it is a local or hierarchical distributed function?

This paper presents a method of decoding FMRI data into the original image viewed. IMHO - The results are stunningly good.

It was necessary to use hierarchy to recover the original image lending weight to the case for a distributed hierarchical representation.

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Here’s what happens when micro-electrode arrays are used in a monkey brain to distinguish the response of single neurons to visual stimuli. A neuron fires orders of magnitude more quickly in response to synthetic, evolved patterns than to natural video. One neuron seems to recognize another monkey that wears a red tag; another seems to recognize a human caretaker who wears a blue surgical mask.

These results, too, are fascinating, to me at least.

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Related:

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Another group has produced similar manipulation of V4 neurons, proposing that this could become a tool for brain-state manipulation at the level of the individual neuron.

Such a proposal becomes even more interesting in light of research showing that “Emotion schemas are embedded in the human visual system.”

Exciting times!

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