Edinburgh Research Explorer

Modeling Self-Organization in the Visual Cortex

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKohonen Maps
EditorsErkki Oja, Samuel Kaski
PublisherELSEVIER SCIENCE PUBL B V
Pages243-252
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-444-50270-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Abstract

This chapter talks about how the self-organizing map (SOM) architecture was originally motivated by the topological maps and the self-organization of sensory pathways in the brain. The standard SOM algorithm, where a global supervisor finds the maximally responding unit and determines the weight-change neighborhood, is a computationally powerful abstraction of the actual biological mechanisms. Such an abstraction has turned out extremely useful in many real-world tasks from visualization and data mining to robot control and optimization. To gain insight into biological knowledge organization and development, the self-organizing map architecture is extended with anatomical receptive fields, lateral connections, Hebbian adaptation, and spiking neurons. The resulting RF-SLISSOM model shows how the observed receptive fields, columnar organization, and lateral connectivity in the visual cortex can arise through input-driven self-organization, and how such plasticity can account for partial recovery following retinal and cortical lesions. The self-organized network forms a redundancy-reduced sparse coding of the input that allows it to process massive amounts of information efficiently, and explains how various low-level visual phenomena such as tilt aftereffects, and segmentation and binding can emerge. Such models allow understanding biological processes at a very detailed computational level, and are likely to play a major role in cognitive neuroscience in the future.

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