Line drawings reveal the structure of internal visual models conveyed by cortical feedback.

Andrew T. Morgan, Lucy S. Petro, Lars Muckli

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Jan 25, 2019
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Received Date: 4th January 19

Human behaviour is dependent on the ability of neuronal circuits to predict the outside world. Neuronal circuits make these predictions based on internal models. Despite our extensive knowledge of the sensory features that drive cortical neurons, we have a limited grasp on the structure of the brain’s internal models. Substantial progress in neuroscience therefore depends on our ability to replicate the models that the brain creates internally. Here we record human fMRI data while presenting partially occluded visual scenes. Visual occlusion controls sensory input to subregions of visual cortex while internal models continue to influence activity in these regions. Since the observed activity is dependent on internal models, but not on sensory input, we have the opportunity to map the features of the brain’s internal models. Our results show that internal models in early visual cortex are both categorical and scene-specific. We further demonstrate that behavioural line drawings provide a good description of internal model structure. These findings extend our understanding of internal models by showing that line drawings, which have been effectively used by humans to convey information about the world for thousands of years, provide a window into our brains’ internal models of vision.

Read in full at bioRxiv.

This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.


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