The Neural Basis of Perceptual Equivalence of Visual Stimuli in the Cat
A major goal of neuroethology is to understand the neural basis of object recognition. The discovery of Perrett and Rolls (this volume) that neurons of monkey extrastriate cortex can detect faces represents a new step toward understanding high-level perceptual mechanisms. My own work is related to the neuropsychology tradition which is concerned with the problem of “stimulus equivalence”, i.e., how can an object be recognized as the same when it is presented to different retinal loci, changed in angular size, or rotated in space? Work in the cat has implicated a portion of extrastriate cortex (the lateral suprasylvian area) in the ability of animals to transfer visual learning between opposite hemispheres. This finding has led us to consider the relevant anatomical and physiological features of this cortical region, as the basis for formulating a hypothesis concerning mechanisms of “stimulus equivalence”. The results of our studies and the implications of our hypothesis should be of value to others who study pattern recognition by either the conventional training methods or by the neuroethological approach.
KeywordsSuperior Colliculus Primary Visual Cortex Perceptual Equivalence Interhemispheric Transfer Interocular Transfer
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