Bayesian inference in populations of cortical neurons: a model of motion integration and segmentation in area MT
A major issue in cortical physiology and computational neuroscience is understanding the interaction between extrinsic signals from feedforward connections and intracortical signals from lateral connections. We propose here a computational model for motion perception based on the assumption that the local cortical circuits in the medio-temporal area (area MT) implement a Bayesian inference principle. This approach establishes a functional balance between feedforward and lateral, excitatory and inhibitory, inputs. The model reproduces most of the known properties of the neurons in area MT in response to moving stimuli. It accounts for important motion perception phenomena including motion transparency, spatial and temporal integration/segmentation. While integrating several properties of previously proposed models, it makes specific testable predictions concerning, in particular, temporal properties of neurons and the architecture of lateral connections in area MT. In addition, the proposed mechanism is consistent with the known properties of local cortical circuits in area V1. This suggests that Bayesian inference may be a general feature of information processing in cortical neuron populations.
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