Computational models of cortical visual processing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The visual responses of neurons in the cerebral cortex were first adequately characterized in the 1960s by D. H. Hubel and T. N. Wiesel [(1962) J. Physiol. (London) 160, 106-154; (1968) J. Physiol. (London) 195, 215-243] using qualitative analyses based on simple geometric visual targets. Over the past 30 years, it has become common to consider the properties of these neurons by attempting to make formal descriptions of the transformations they execute on the visual image. Most such models have their roots in linear- systems approaches pioneered in the retina by C. Enroth-Cugell and J. R. Robson [(1966) J. Physiol. (London) 187, 517-552], but it is clear that purely linear models of cortical neurons are inadequate. We present two related models: one designed to account for the responses of simple cells in primary visual cortex (V1) and one designed to account for the responses of pattern direction selective cells in MT (or V5), an extrastriate visual area thought to be involved in the analysis of visual motion. These models share a common structure that operates in the same way on different kinds of input, and instantiate the widely held view that computational strategies are similar throughout the cerebral cortex. Implementations of these models for Macintosh microcomputers are available and can be used to explore the models' properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-627
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 23 1996


  • cerebral cortex
  • neurons
  • vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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