The processes whereby our brains continue to learn about a changing world in a stable fashion throughout life are proposed to lead to conscious experiences. These processes include the learning of top-down expectations, the matching of these expectations against bottom-up data, the focusing of attention upon the expected clusters of information, and the development of resonant states between bottom-up and top-down processes as they reach an attentive consensus between what is expected and what is there in the outside world. It (...) is suggested that all conscious states in the brain are resonant states and that these resonant states trigger learning of sensory and cognitive representations. The models which summarize these concepts are therefore called Adaptive Resonance Theory, or ART, models. Psychophysical and neurobiological data in support of ART are presented from early vision, visual object recognition, auditory streaming, variable-rate speech perception, somatosensory perception, and cognitive-emotional interactions, among others. It is noted that ART mechanisms seem to be operative at all levels of the visual system, and it is proposed how these mechanisms are realized by known laminar circuits of visual cortex. It is predicted that the same circuit realization of ART mechanisms will be found in the laminar circuits of all sensory and cognitive neocortex. Concepts and data are summarized concerning how some visual percepts may be visibly, or modally, perceived, whereas amodal percepts may be consciously recognized even though they are perceptually invisible. It is also suggested that sensory and cognitive processing in the What processing stream of the brain obey top-down matching and learning laws that are often complementary to those used for spatial and motor processing in the brain's Where processing stream. This enables our sensory and cognitive representations to maintain their stability as we learn more about the world, while allowing spatial and motor representations to forget learned maps and gains that are no longer appropriate as our bodies develop and grow from infanthood to adulthood. Procedural memories are proposed to be unconscious because the inhibitory matching process that supports these spatial and motor processes cannot lead to resonance. (shrink)
The experiments reported herein probe the visual cortical mechanisms that control near–far percepts in response to two-dimensional stimuli. Figural contrast is found to be a principal factor for the emergence of percepts of near versus far in pictorial stimuli, especially when stimulus duration is brief. Pictorial factors such as interposition (Experiment 1) and partial occlusion Experiments 2 and 3) may cooperate, as generally predicted by cue combination models, or compete with contrast factors in the manner predicted by the FACADE model. (...) In particular, if the geometrical con guration of an image favors activation of cortical bipole grouping cells, as at the top of a T-junction, then this advantage can cooperate with the contrast of the con guration to facilitate a near–far percept at a lower contrast than at an X-junction. Varying the exposure duration of the stimuli shows that the more balanced bipole competition in the X-junction case takes longer exposure times to resolve than the bipole competition in the T-junction case (Experiment 3). (shrink)
The segregation of image parts into foreground and background is an important aspect of the neural computation of 3D scene perception. To achieve such segregation, the brain needs information about border ownership; that is, the belongingness of a contour to a specific surface represented in the image. This article presents psychophysical data derived from 3D percepts of figure and ground that were generated by presenting 2D images composed of spatially disjoint shapes that pointed inward or outward relative to the continuous (...) boundaries that they induced along their collinear edges. The shapes in some images had the same contrast (black or white) with respect to the background gray. Other images included opposite contrasts along each induced continuous boundary. Psychophysical results demonstrate conditions under which figure-ground judgment probabilities in response to these ambiguous displays are determined by the orientation of contrasts only, not by their relative contrasts, despite the fact that many border ownership cells in cortical area V2 respond to a preferred relative contrast. Studies are also reviewed in which both polarity-specific and polarity-invariant properties obtain perceptual figure-ground grouping results. The FACADE and 3D LAMINART models are used to explain these data. Keywords: figure-ground separation, border ownership, perceptual grouping, surface filling-in, V2, V4, FACADE Theory. (shrink)
Recent neural models clarify many properties of mental imagery as part of the process whereby bottom-up visual information is influenced by top-down expectations, and how these expectations control visual attention. Volitional signals can transform modulatory top-down signals into supra-threshold imagery. Visual hallucinations can occur when the normal control of these volitional signals is lost.
This article introduces an experimental paradigm to selectively probe the multiple levels of visual processing that influence the formation of object contours, perceptual boundaries, and illusory contours. The experiments test the assumption that, to integrate contour information across space and contrast sign, a spatially short-range filtering process that is sensitive to contrast polarity inputs to a spatially long-range grouping process that pools signals from opposite contrast polarities. The stimuli consisted of thin subthreshold lines, flashed upon gaps between collinear inducers which (...) potentially enable the formation of illusory contours. The subthreshold lines were composed of one or more segments with opposite contrast polarities. The polarity nearest to the inducers was varied to differentially excite the short-range filtering process. The experimental results are consistent with neurophysiological evidence for cortical mechanisms of contour processing and with the Boundary Contour System model, which identifies the short-range filtering process with cortical simple cells, and the long-range grouping process with cortical bipole cells. (shrink)
The thresholds of human observers detecting line targets improve significantly when the targets are presented in a spatial context of collinear inducing stimuli. This phenomenon is referred to as spatial facilitation, and may reflect the output of long-range interactions between cortical feature detectors. Spatial facilitation has thus far been observed with luminance-defined, achromatic stimuli on achromatic backgrounds. This study compares spatial facilitation with line targets and collinear, edge-like inducers defined by luminance contrast to spatial facilitation with targets and inducers defined (...) by color contrast. The results of a first experiment show that achromatic inducers facilitate the detection of achromatic targets on gray and colored backgrounds, but tend to suppress the detection of chromatic targets. Chromatic inducers facilitate the detection of chromatic targets on gray and colored backgrounds, but tend to suppress the detection of achromatic targets. Chromatic spatial facilitation appears to be strongest when inducers and background are isoluminant. The results of a second experiment show that spatial facilitation with chromatic targets and inducers requires a longer exposure duration of the inducers than spatial facilitation with achromatic targets and inducers, which is already fully effective at an inducer exposure of 30 ms only. The findings point towards two separate mechanisms for spatial facilitation with collinear form stimuli: one that operates in the domain of luminance, and one that operates in the domain of color contrast. These results are consistent with neural models of boundary and surface formation which suggest that achromatic and chromatic visual cues are represented on different cortical surface representations that are capable of selectively attracting attention. Multiple copies of these achromatic and chromatic surface representations exist corresponding to different ranges of perceived depth from an observer, and each can attract attention to itself. Color and contrast differences between inducing and test stimuli, and transient responses to inducing stimuli, can cause attention to shift across these surface representations in ways that sometimes enhance and sometimes interfere with target detection. (shrink)
Lewis proposes a “reconceptualization” of how to link the psychology and neurobiology of emotion and cognitive-emotional interactions. His main proposed themes have actually been actively and quantitatively developed in the neural modeling literature for more than 30 years. This commentary summarizes some of these themes and points to areas of particularly active research in this area.
The human urge to represent the three-dimensional world using two-dimensional pictorial representations dates back at least to Paleolithic times. Artists from ancient to modern times have struggled to understand how a few contours or color patches on a flat surface can induce mental representations of a three-dimensional scene. This article summarizes some of the recent breakthroughs in scientifically understanding how the brain sees that shed light on these struggles. These breakthroughs illustrate how various artists have intuitively understand paradoxical properties about (...) how the brain sees, and have used that understanding to create great art. These paradoxical properties arise from how the brain forms the units of conscious visual perception; namely, representations of threedimensional boundaries and surfaces. Boundaries and surfaces are computed in parallel cortical processing streams that obey computationally complementary properties. These streams interact at multiple levels to overcome their complementary weaknesses and to transform their complementary properties into consistent percepts. The article describes how properties of complementary consistency have guided the creation of many great works of art. (shrink)
Lehar's lively discussion builds on a critique of neural models of vision that is incorrect in its general and specific claims. He espouses a Gestalt perceptual approach rather than one consistent with the “objective neurophysiological state of the visual system” (target article, Abstract). Contemporary vision models realize his perceptual goals and also quantitatively explain neurophysiological and anatomical data.
Examples of how LTP and LTD can control adaptively-timed learning that modulates attention and motor control are given. It is also suggested that LTP/LTD can play a role in storing memories. The distinction between match-based and mismatch-based learning may help to clarify the difference.
“Chorus embodies an attempt to find out how far a mostly bottom-up approach to representation can be taken.” Models that embody both bottom-up and top-down learning have stronger computational properties and explain more data about representation than feedforward models do.
I agree with Quartz & Sejnowski's points, which are familiar to many scientists. A number of models with the sought-after properties, however, are overlooked, while models without them are highlighted. I will review nonstationary learning, links between development and learning, locality, stability, learning throughout life, hypothesis testing that models the learner's problem domain, and active dendritic processes.
A number of examples are given of how localist models may incorporate distributed representations, without the types of nonlocal interactions that often render distributed models implausible. The need to analyze the information that is encoded by these representations is also emphasized as a metatheoretical constraint on model plausibility.
Neural models have proposed how short-term memory (STM) storage in working memory and long-term memory (LTM) storage and recall are linked and interact, but are realized by different mechanisms that obey different laws. The authors' data can be understood in the light of these models, which suggest that the authors may have gone too far in obscuring the differences between these processes.
Plamondon & Alimi (P&A) have unified much data on speed/accuracy trade-offs during reaching movements using a delta-lognormal form factor that describes notably neuromuscular systems. Their approach raises questions about whether a large number of systems is needed, whether they are linear, and whether the results disclose the neural design principles that control reaching behaviors. The authors admit that (sect. 6, para. 4).
Boundary completion and surface filling-in are computationally complementary processes whose multiple processing stages form processing streams that realize a hierarchical resolution of uncertainty. Such complementarity and uncertainty principles provide a new foundation for philosophical discussions about visual perception, and lead to neural explanations of difficult perceptual data.