Perceptual Decision Making “Through the Eyes” of a Large-scale Neural Model of V1

Sparse coding has been posited as an efficient information processing strategy employed by sensory systems, particularly visual cortex. Substantial theoretical and experimental work has focused on the issue of sparse encoding, namely how the early visual system maps the scene into a sparse representation. In this paper we investigate the complementary issue of sparse decoding, for example given activity generated by a realistic mapping of the visual scene to neuronal spike trains, how do downstream neurons best utilize this representation to generate a “decision.” Specifically we consider both sparse (L1-regularized) and non-sparse (L2 regularized) linear decoding for mapping the neural dynamics of a large-scale spiking neuron model of primary visual cortex (V1) to a two alternative forced choice (2-AFC) perceptual decision. We show that while both sparse and non-sparse linear decoding yield discrimination results quantitatively consistent with human psychophysics, sparse linear decoding is more efficient in terms of the number of selected informative dimension.

Available Online doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00161
Accepted 14 March 2013
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