Nonlinear Processing in LGN Neurons

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 16 (NIPS 2003)

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Vincent Bonin, Valerio Mante, Matteo Carandini


According to a widely held view, neurons in lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) operate on visual stimuli in a linear fashion. There is ample evidence, however, that LGN responses are not entirely linear. To account for nonlinearities we propose a model that synthesizes more than 30 years of research in the field. Model neurons have a linear receptive field, and a nonlinear, divisive suppressive field. The suppressive field computes local root-mean- square contrast. To test this model we recorded responses from LGN of anesthetized paralyzed cats. We estimate model parameters from a basic set of measurements and show that the model can accurately predict responses to novel stimuli. The model might serve as the new standard model of LGN responses. It specifies how visual processing in LGN involves both linear filtering and divisive gain control.