Neuronal learning of invariant object representation in the ventral visual stream is not dependent on reward.

TitleNeuronal learning of invariant object representation in the ventral visual stream is not dependent on reward.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsLi N, DiCarlo JJ
JournalThe Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Volume32
Issue19
Pagination6611-20
Date Published2012 May 9
ISSN1529-2401
Abstract

Neurons at the top of primate ventral visual stream [inferior temporal cortex (IT)] have selectivity for objects that is highly tolerant to variation in the object's appearance on the retina. Previous nonhuman primate (Macaca mulatta) studies suggest that this neuronal tolerance is at least partly supported by the natural temporal contiguity of visual experience, because altering that temporal contiguity can robustly alter adult IT position and size tolerance. According to that work, it is the statistics of the subject's visual experience, not the subject's reward, that instruct the specific images that IT treats as equivalent. But is reward necessary for gating this type of learning in the ventral stream? Here we show that this is not the case-temporal tolerance learning proceeds at the same rate, regardless of reward magnitude and regardless of the temporal co-occurrence of reward, even in a behavioral task that does not require the subject to engage the object images. This suggests that the ventral visual stream uses autonomous, fully unsupervised mechanisms to constantly leverage all visual experience to help build its invariant object representation.

Alternate JournalJ. Neurosci.

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