The role of the primary visual cortex in higher level vision

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In the classical feed-forward, modular view of visual processing, the primary visual cortex (area V1) is a module that serves to extract local features such as edges and bars. Representation and recognition of objects are thought to be functions of higher extrastriate cortical areas. This paper presents neurophysiological data that show the later part of V1 neurons' responses reflecting higher order perceptual computations related to Ullman's visual routines and Marr's full primal sketch, 2 1/4 D sketch and 3D model. Based on theoretical reasoning and the experimental evidence, we propose a possible reinterpretation of the functional role of V1. In this framework, because of V1 neurons' precise encoding of orientation and spatial information, higher level perceptual computations and representations that involve high resolution details, fine geometry and spatial precision would necessarily involve V1 and be reflected in the later part of its neurons' activities.




Lee, T. S., Mumford, D., Romero, R., & Lamme, V. A. F. (1998). The role of the primary visual cortex in higher level vision. Vision Research, 38(15–16), 2429–2454.

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