Untangling invariant object recognition

TitleUntangling invariant object recognition
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsDiCarlo JJ, Cox DD
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Date Publishedaug
KeywordsAnimals, Attention, Brain, Cognition, Concept Formation, Decision Making, Depth Perception, Discrimination Learning, Humans, Models, Neurons, Pattern Recognition, Primates, Retina, Theoretical, Visual, Visual Pathways

Despite tremendous variation in the appearance of visual objects, primates can recognize a multitude of objects, each in a fraction of a second, with no apparent effort. However, the brain mechanisms that enable this fundamental ability are not understood. Drawing on ideas from neurophysiology and computation, we present a graphical perspective on the key computational challenges of object recognition, and argue that the format of neuronal population representation and a property that we term 'object tangling' are central. We use this perspective to show that the primate ventral visual processing stream achieves a particularly effective solution in which single-neuron invariance is not the goal. Finally, we speculate on the key neuronal mechanisms that could enable this solution, which, if understood, would have far-reaching implications for cognitive neuroscience.

Refereed DesignationRefereed

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