Parsimony, Exhaustivity and Balanced Detection in Neocortex

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© 2015 Romagnoni et al. The layout of sensory brain areas is thought to subtend perception. The principles shaping these architectures and their role in information processing are still poorly understood. We investigate mathematically and computationally the representation of orientation and spatial frequency in cat primary visual cortex. We prove that two natural principles, local exhaustivity and parsimony of representation, would constrain the orientation and spatial frequency maps to display a very specific pinwheel-dipole singularity. This is particularly interesting since recent experimental evidences show a dipolar structures of the spatial frequency map co-localized with pinwheels in cat. These structures have important properties on information processing capabilities. In particular, we show using a computational model of visual information processing that this architecture allows a trade-off in the local detection of orientation and spatial frequency, but this property occurs for spatial frequency selectivity sharper than reported in the literature. We validated this sharpening on high-resolution optical imaging experimental data. These results shed new light on the principles at play in the emergence of functional architecture of cortical maps, as well as their potential role in processing information.




Romagnoni, A., Ribot, J., Bennequin, D., & Touboul, J. (2015). Parsimony, Exhaustivity and Balanced Detection in Neocortex. PLoS Computational Biology, 11(11).

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