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Click to download PDF version Click to download BibTeX data Clik to view abstract T. N. Mundhenk, L. Itti, Computational modeling and exploration of contour integration for visual saliency, Biological Cybernetics, Vol. 93, No. 3, pp. 188-212, Sep 2005. [2003 impact factor: 1.933] (Cited by 34)

Abstract: We propose a computational model of contour integration for visual saliency. The model uses biologically plausible devices to simulate how the representations of elements aligned collinearly along a contour in an image are enhanced. Our model adds such devices as a dopamine-like fast plasticity, local GABAergic inhibition and multi-scale processing of images. The fast plasticity addresses the problem of how neurons in visual cortex seem to be able to influence neurons they are not directly connected to, for instance as observed in contour closure effect. Local GABAergic inhibition is used to control gain in the system without using global mechanisms, which may be non-plausible given the limited reach of axonal arbors in visual cortex. The model is then used to explore not only its validity in real and artificial images, but to discover some of the mechanisms involved in processing of complex visual features such as junctions and end-stops as well as contours. We present evidence for the validity of our model in several phases, starting with local enhancement of only a few collinear elements. We then test our model on more complex contour integration images with a large number of Gabor elements. Sections of the model are also extracted and used to discover how the model might relate contour integration neurons to neurons that process end-stops and junctions. Finally, we present results from real world images. Results from the model suggest that it is a good current approximation of contour integration in human vision. As well, it suggests that contour integration mechanisms may be strongly related to mechanisms for detecting end-stops and junction points. Additionally, a contour integration mechanism may be involved in finding features for objects such as faces. This suggests that visual cortex may be more information efficient and that neural regions may have multiple roles.

Themes: Model of Bottom-Up Saliency-Based Visual Attention, Computational Modeling


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