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A theory of a saliency map in primary visual cortex (V1) tested by psychophysics of colour–orientation interference in texture segmentation

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It has been proposed that V1 creates a bottom-up saliency map, where saliency of any location increases with the firing rate of the most active V1 output cell responding to it, regardless the feature selectivity of the cell. Thus, a red vertical bar may have its saliency signalled by a cell tuned to red colour, or one tuned to vertical orientation, whichever cell is the most active. This theory predicts interference between colour and orientation features in texture segmentation tasks where bottom-up processes are significant. The theory not only explains existing data, but also provides a prediction. A subsequent psychophysical test confirmed the prediction by showing that segmentation of textures of oriented bars became more difficult as the colours of the bars were randomly drawn from more colour categories.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, University College London, London, UK 2: School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

Publication date: August 1, 2006


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