Visual binding through reentrant connectivity and dynamic synchronization in a brain-based device

Seth, Anil K, McKinstry, Jeffrey L, Edelman, Gerald M and Krichmar, Jeffrey L (2004) Visual binding through reentrant connectivity and dynamic synchronization in a brain-based device. Cerebral Cortex, 14 (11). pp. 1185-1199. ISSN 1047-3211

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Effective visual object recognition requires mechanisms to bind object features (e.g. color, shape, and motion) while distinguishing distinct objects. Synchronously active neuronal circuits among reentrantly connected cortical areas may a basis for visual binding. To assess the potential of this mechanism, we have constructed a mobile brain-based device, Darwin VIII, which is guided by simulated analogues of cortical and sub-cortical areas required for visual processing, decision-making, reward, and motor responses. These simulated areas are reentrantly connected and each area contains neuronal units representing both the mean activity level and the relative timing of the activity of groups of neurons. Darwin VIII learns to discriminate among multiple objects with shared visual features, and associated `target¿ objects with innately preferred auditory cues. We observed the co-activation of globally distributed neuronal circuits that corresponded to distinct objects in Darwin VIII¿s visual field. These circuits, which are constrained by a reentrant neuroanatomy and modulated by behavior and synaptic plasticity, are necessary for successful discrimination. By situating Darwin VIII in a rich real-world environment involving continual changes in the size and location of visual stimuli due to self-generated movement, and by recording its behavioral and neuronal responses in detail, we were able to show that reentrant connectivity and dynamic synchronization provide an effective mechanism for binding the features of visual objects.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Originality: Illustrates a large-scale real-world robotic implementation of a novel solution to the ¿visual binding¿ problem in which different visual modalities are bound together by dynamic synchronization. Rigour: Utilized a combination of detailed neural modeling involving >50,000 simulated neurons and dedicated robotic hardware. Analysis techniques involved adaptation of neurophysiological methods to the rich data sets provided by simulated neural systems. Significance: Demonstrated that dynamic synchronization via reentrant connections is a plausible and effective solution to the binding problem. Illustrated the view that neuronal activity is best seen as a balance between local and global constraints, and not in terms of the prevailing dichotomy between bottom-up and top-down processing. Outlet/citations: Top neuroscience journal. 17 external citations in Google Scholar.
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Depositing User: Anil Seth
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:57
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2012 15:20
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