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Cogn Neurodyn. 2007 Sep;1(3):261-72. doi: 10.1007/s11571-007-9021-1. Epub 2007 Jul 12.

Robustness of neural codes and its implication on natural image processing.

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Department of Informatics, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QH, UK,


In this study, based on the view of statistical inference, we investigate the robustness of neural codes, i.e., the sensitivity of neural responses to noise, and its implication on the construction of neural coding. We first identify the key factors that influence the sensitivity of neural responses, and find that the overlap between neural receptive fields plays a critical role. We then construct a robust coding scheme, which enforces the neural responses not only to encode external inputs well, but also to have small variability. Based on this scheme, we find that the optimal basis functions for encoding natural images resemble the receptive fields of simple cells in the striate cortex. We also apply this scheme to identify the important features in the representation of face images and Chinese characters.

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