Effects of V1 surround modulation tuning on visual saliency and the tilt illusion

Keemink, Sander Wessel, Boucsein, Clemens and van Rossum, Mark C.W. (2018) Effects of V1 surround modulation tuning on visual saliency and the tilt illusion. Journal of Neurophysiology . ISSN 1522-1598

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Neurons in the primary visual cortex respond to oriented stimuli placed in the center of their receptive field, yet their response is modulated by stimuli outside the receptive field (the surround). Classically, this surround modulation is assumed to be strongest if the orientation of the surround stimulus aligns with the neuron's preferred orientation - irrespective of the actual center stimulus. This neuron-dependent surround modulation has been used to explain a wide range of psychophysical phenomena, such as biased tilt perception and saliency of stimuli with contrasting orientation. However, several neurophysiological studies have shown that for most neurons surround modulation is instead center-dependent: it is strongest if the surround orientation aligns with the center stimulus. As the impact of such center-dependent modulation on the population level is unknown, we examine this using computational models. We find that with neuron-dependent modulation the biases in orientation coding, commonly used to explain the tilt illusion, are larger than psychophysically reported, but disappear with center-dependent modulation. Therefore we suggest that a mixture of the two modulation types is necessary to quantitatively explain the psychophysically observed biases. Next, we find that under center-dependent modulation average population responses are more sensitive to orientation differences between stimuli, which in theory could improve saliency detection. However, this effect depends on the specific saliency model. Overall, our results thus show that center-dependent modulation reduces coding bias, while possibly increasing the sensitivity to salient features.

Item Type: Article
RIS ID: https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/934627
Keywords: surround modulation, population coding, tilt illusion, orientation saliency
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical Sciences
University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00864.2017
Depositing User: Van Rossum, Mark CW
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2018 13:31
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 19:38
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/52883

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