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Percept Psychophys. 1991 Feb;49(2):117-41.

Why do parallel cortical systems exist for the perception of static form and moving form?

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  • 1Center for Adaptive Systems, Boston University, Massachusetts 02215.

Abstract

This article analyzes computational properties that clarify why the parallel cortical systems V1----V2, V1----MT, and V1----V2----MT exist for the perceptual processing of static visual forms and moving visual forms. The article describes a symmetry principle, called FM symmetry, that is predicted to govern the development of these parallel cortical systems by computing all possible ways of symmetrically gating sustained cells with transient cells and organizing these sustained-transient cells into opponent pairs of on-cells and off-cells whose output signals are insensitive to direction of contrast. This symmetric organization explains how the static form system (static BCS) generates emergent boundary segmentations whose outputs are insensitive to direction of contrast and insensitive to direction of motion, whereas the motion form system (motion BCS) generates emergent boundary segmentations whose outputs are insensitive to direction of contrast but sensitive to direction of motion. FM symmetry clarifies why the geometries of static and motion form perception differ--for example, why the opposite orientation of vertical is horizontal (90 degrees), but the opposite direction of up is down (180 degrees). Opposite orientations and directions are embedded in gated dipole opponent processes that are capable of antagonistic rebound. Negative afterimages, such as the MacKay and waterfall illusions, are hereby explained as are aftereffects of long-range apparent motion. These antagonistic rebounds help to control a dynamic balance between complementary perceptual states of resonance and reset. Resonance cooperatively links features into emergent boundary segmentations via positive feedback in a CC loop, and reset terminates a resonance when the image changes, thereby preventing massive smearing of percepts. These complementary preattentive states of resonance and reset are related to analogous states that govern attentive feature integration, learning, and memory search in adaptive resonance theory. The mechanism used in the V1----MT system to generate a wave of apparent motion between discrete flashes may also be used in other cortical systems to generate spatial shifts of attention. The theory suggests how the V1----V2----MT cortical stream helps to compute moving form in depth and how long-range apparent motion of illusory contours occurs. These results collectively argue against vision theories that espouse independent processing modules. Instead, specialized subsystems interact to overcome computational uncertainties and complementary deficiencies, to cooperatively bind features into context-sensitive resonances, and to realize symmetry principles that are predicted to govern the development of the visual cortex.

PMID:
2017350
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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