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Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 52, Issue 4, pp 267–280 | Cite as

On the neuronal basis of figure-ground discrimination by relative motion in the visual system of the fly

III. Possible input circuitries and behavioural significance of the FD-cells
  • Martin Egelhaaf
Article

Abstract

It has been concluded in the preceding papers (Egelhaaf, 1985a, b) that two functional classes of output elements of the visual ganglia might be involved in figure-ground discrimination by relative motion in the fly: The Horizontal Cells which respond best to the motion of large textured patterns and the FD-cells which are most sensitive to small moving objects. In this paper it is studied by computer simulations (1) in what way the input circuitry of the FD-cells might be organized and (2) the role the FD-cells play in figure-ground discrimination.

The characteristic functional properties of the FD-cells can be explained by various alternative model networks. In all models the main input to the FD-cells is formed by two retinotopic arrays of small-field elementary movement detectors, responding to either front-to-back or back-to-front motion. According to their preferred direction of motion the FD-cells are excited by one of these movement detector classes and inhibited by the other. The synaptic transmission between the movement detectors and the FD-cells is assumed to be non-linear. It is a common property of all these model circuits that the inhibition of the FD-cells induced by large-field motion is mediated by pool cells which cover altogether the entire horizontal extent of the visual field of both eyes. These pool cells affect the response of the FD-cells either by pre- or postsynaptic shunting inhibition. Depending on the FD-cell under consideration, the pool cells are directionally selective for motion or sensitive to motion in either horizontal direction.

The role the FD-cells and the Horizontal Cells are likely to play in figure-ground discrimination can be demonstrated by computer simulations of a composite neuronal model consisting of the model circuits for these cell types. According to their divergent spatial integration properties they perform different tasks in figure-ground discrimination: Whereas the Horizontal Cells mainly mediate information on wide-field motion, the FD-cells are selectively tuned to efficient detection of relatively small targets. Both cell classes together appear to be sufficient to account for figure-ground discrimination as it has been shown by analysis at the behavioural level.

Keywords

Neuronal Model Model Circuit Movement Detector Pool Cell Horizontal Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Egelhaaf
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für biologische KybernetikTübingenFederal Republic of Germany

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