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Sci Rep. 2018 Jan 22;8(1):1379. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-19108-w.

Mice use robust and common strategies to discriminate natural scenes.

Author information

1
Neuroscience Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27599, USA.
2
Department of Pharmacology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27599, USA.
3
Neuroscience Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27599, USA. slab@unc.edu.
4
Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27599, USA. slab@unc.edu.
5
Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27599, USA. slab@unc.edu.

Abstract

Mice use vision to navigate and avoid predators in natural environments. However, their visual systems are compact compared to other mammals, and it is unclear how well mice can discriminate ethologically relevant scenes. Here, we examined natural scene discrimination in mice using an automated touch-screen system. We estimated the discrimination difficulty using the computational metric structural similarity (SSIM), and constructed psychometric curves. However, the performance of each mouse was better predicted by the mean performance of other mice than SSIM. This high inter-mouse agreement indicates that mice use common and robust strategies to discriminate natural scenes. We tested several other image metrics to find an alternative to SSIM for predicting discrimination performance. We found that a simple, primary visual cortex (V1)-inspired model predicted mouse performance with fidelity approaching the inter-mouse agreement. The model involved convolving the images with Gabor filters, and its performance varied with the orientation of the Gabor filter. This orientation dependence was driven by the stimuli, rather than an innate biological feature. Together, these results indicate that mice are adept at discriminating natural scenes, and their performance is well predicted by simple models of V1 processing.

PMID:
29358739
PMCID:
PMC5778028
DOI:
10.1038/s41598-017-19108-w
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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