# Robustness of neural codes and its implication on natural image processing

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## Abstract

In this study, based on the view of statistical inference, we investigate the robustness of neural codes, i.e., the sensitivity of neural responses to noise, and its implication on the construction of neural coding. We first identify the key factors that influence the sensitivity of neural responses, and find that the overlap between neural receptive fields plays a critical role. We then construct a robust coding scheme, which enforces the neural responses not only to encode external inputs well, but also to have small variability. Based on this scheme, we find that the optimal basis functions for encoding natural images resemble the receptive fields of simple cells in the striate cortex. We also apply this scheme to identify the important features in the representation of face images and Chinese characters.

## Keywords

Robust coding Neural codes Natural image processing Neuronal variability V1## Notes

### Acknowledgements

We are very grateful to Peter Dayan. Without his instructive and inspirational discussions, the paper would exist in a rather different form. We also acknowledge valuable comments from Kingsley Sage and Jim Stone.

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