Volume 14 Supplement 1
Spontaneous emergence of simple and complex receptive fields in a spiking model of V1
© Izhikevich et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013
Published: 8 July 2013
Brain Corporation is engaged in a multi-year project to build a spiking model of vision, paying special attention to the anatomy and physiology of the mammalian visual system. While it is relatively easy to hand-tune V1 to get simple and complex cells, it is not clear how to arrange connectivity in other cortical areas to get appropriate receptive fields, or what the appropriate receptive fields even should be. Instead of pre-wiring cortical connectivity according to a computational theory of how vision should work, we start with a generic "tabula rasa" spiking network having multiple cortical layers and neuronal types (single-compartment RS, FS, LTS cells). The goal is to find the anatomical and physiological parameters so that the appropriate connectivity emerges through STDP and visual experience. Since we know exactly what kind of receptive fields and visual responses are in V1, we build a smaller model of retina-LGN-V1 pathway and tune the STDP parameters so that the expected responses emerge. Admittedly, there are many free parameters that could be tuned to get V1-like responses; our choice is motivated by in-vitro recordings and other published data, whenever possible. Once we trust what we see in V1, we are ready to copy and paste the cortical model to implement V2, V3, V4, and IT areas with the hope that useful connectivity, receptive fields, and visual responses emerge. Our large-scale simulations of the spiking model of the visual system show spontaneous emergence of simple and complex cells, orientation domains, end-stopping receptive fields, extra-classical receptive fields with tuned surround suppression, color opponency that depends on the eccentricity of the receptive field, contrast invariance, and many other features that are routinely recorded in V1. Since the visual model exhibits micro- and full saccades, we observe perceptual behavior, such as the emergence of bottom-up (pop-out) attention. The model underscores the importance of spike-timing dynamics, inhibition, saccadic mechanism, and it imposes important restrictions on the possible types of STDP to model early visual processing.