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Biol Cybern. 1990;64(1):25-31.

Population coding of stimulus orientation by striate cortical cells.

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Laboratorium voor Neuro- en Psychofysiologie, Faculteit der Geneeskunde, K.U. Leuven, Belgium.


I have examined the performance of a population coding model of visual orientation discrimination, similar to the population coding models proposed for the coding of limb movements. The orientation of the stimulus is not represented by a single unit but by an ensemble of broadly tuned units in a distributed way. Each unit is represented by a vector whose magnitude and direction correspond to the response magnitude and preferred orientation of the unit, respectively. The orientation of the population vector, i.e. the vector sum of the ensemble of units, is the signalled orientation on a particular trial. The accuracy of this population vector orientation coding was determined as a function of a number of parameters by computer simulation. I have shown that even with broadly orientation tuned units possessing considerable response variance, the accuracy of the orientation of the population vector can be as good as behaviorally measured just noticeable differences in orientation. The accuracy of the population code is shown to depend upon the number of units, the average response strength, the orientation band-width, response variability and the response covariance. The results of these simulations were also compared to predictions derived from psychophysical studies of orientation discrimination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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