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Do We Know What the Early Visual System Computes?

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Bethge,  M
Research Group Computational Vision and Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Kayser,  C
Research Group Physiology of Sensory Integration, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Bethge, M., & Kayser, C. (2007). Do We Know What the Early Visual System Computes?. Talk presented at 7th Meeting of the German Neuroscience Society, 31st Göttingen Neurobiology Conference. Göttingen, Germany. 2007-03-29 - 2007-04-01.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-CE51-C
Abstract
Decades of research provided much data and insights into the mechanisms of the early visual system. Currently, however, there is great controversy on whether these findings can provide us with a thorough functional understanding of what the early visual system does, or formulated differently, of what it computes. At the Society for Neuroscience meeting 2005 in Washington, a symposium was held on the question "Do we know that the early visual system does", which was accompanied by a widely regarded publication in the Journal of Neuroscience. Yet, that discussion was rather specialized as it predominantly addressed the question of how well neural responses in retina, LGN, and cortex can be predicted from noise stimuli, but did not emphasize the question of whether we understand what the function of these early visual areas is. Here we will concentrate on this neuro-computational aspect of vision. Experts from neurobiology, psychophysics and computational neuroscience will present studies which approach this question from different viewpoints and promote a critical discussion of whether we actually understand what early areas contribute to the processing and perception of visual information.