Modeling Invariances in Inferotemporal Cell Tuning
In macaque inferotemporal cortex (IT), neurons have been found to respond selectively to complex shapes while showing broad tuning ("invariance") with respect to stimulus transformations such as translation and scale changes and a limited tuning to rotation in depth. Training monkeys with novel, paperclip-like objects, Logothetis et al. could investigate whether these invariance properties are due to experience with exhaustively many transformed instances of an object or if there are mechanisms that allow the cells to show response invariance also to previously unseen instances of that object. They found object-selective cells in anterior IT which exhibited limited invariance to various transformations after training with single object views. While previous models accounted for the tuning of the cells for rotations in depth and for their selectivity to a specific object relative to a population of distractor objects, the model described here attempts to explain in a biologically plausible way the additional properties of translation and size invariance. Using the same stimuli as in the experiment, we find that model IT neurons exhibit invariance properties which closely parallel those of real neurons. Simulations show that the model is capable of unsupervised learning of view-tuned neurons. The model also allows to make experimentally testable predictions regarding novel stimulus transformations and combinations of stimuli.