A Neural Theory of Preattentive Visual Information Processing: Emergent Segmentation, Cooperative-Competitive Computation, and Parallel Memory Storage

  • Steven Grossberg
  • Enrico Mingolla


A real-time neural theory of preattentive visual information processing is described. The theory employs specialized neural networks expressed by systems of nonlinear ordinary differential equations. These dynamical systems describe hierarchies of nonlinear filters and cooperative-competitive feedback processes which generate coherent emergent segmentations that are sensitive to a scene’s global statistical properties. The emergent segmentations are controlled automatically by internal feedback loops rather than by external parameters. The theory shows how these circuits contextually resolve several basic uncertainties of local visual information processing. Historical antecedents of this theory within the recent decades of work on neural modelling are described, including the role of Liapunov functions in the analysis of memory storage.


Receptive Field Illusory Contour Neural Theory Subjective Contour Visual Information Processing 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Grossberg
    • 1
  • Enrico Mingolla
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Adaptive SystemsBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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