When we travel in an environment, we have an optic flow on the retina. Neurons in the area MST of macaque monkeys are reported to have a very large receptive field and analyze optic flows on the retina. Many MST-cells respond selectively to rotation, expansion/contraction and planar motion of the optic flow. Many of them show position-invariant responses to optic flow, that is, their responses are maintained during the shift of the center of the optic flow. It has long been suggested mathematically that vector-field calculus is useful for analyzing optic flow field. Biologically, plausible neural network models based on this idea, however, have little been proposed so far. This paper, based on vector-field hypothesis, proposes a neural network model for extracting optic flows. Our model consists of hierarchically connected layers: retina, V1, MT and MST. V1-cells measure local velocity. There are two kinds of MT-cell: one is for extracting absolute velocities, the other for extracting relative velocities with their antagonistic inputs. Collecting signals from MT-cells, MST-cells respond selectively to various types of optic flows. We demonstrate through a computer simulation that this simple network is enough to explain a variety of results of neurophysiological experiments. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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