A Neural Network Model for the Development of Simple and Complex Cell Receptive Fields Within Cortical Maps of Orientation and Ocular Dominance
Olson, Steven J.
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Prenatal development of the primary visual cortex leads to simple cells with spatially distinct and oriented ON and OFF subregions. These simple cells are organized into spatial maps of orientation and ocular dominance that exhibit singularities, fractures, and linear zones. On a finer spatial scale, simple cells occur that are sensitive to similar orientations but opposite contrast polarities, and exhibit both even-symmetric and odd-symmetric receptive fields. Pooling of outputs from oppositely polarized simple cells leads to complex cells that respond to both contrast polarities. A neural network model is described which simulates how simple and complex cells self-organize starting from unsegregated and unoriented geniculocortical inputs during prenatal development. Neighboring simple cells that are sensitive to opposite contrast polarities develop from a combination of spatially short-range inhibition and high-gain recurrent habituative excitation between cells that obey membrane equations. Habituation, or depression, of synapses controls reset of cell activations both through enhanced ON responses and OFF antagonistic rebounds. Orientation and ocular dominance maps form when high-gain medium-range recurrent excitation and long-range inhibition interact with the short-range mechanisms. The resulting structure clarifies how simple and complex cells contribute to perceptual processes such as texture segregation and perceptual grouping.