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Click to download PDF version Click to download BibTeX data Clik to view abstract B. J. White, D. J. Berg, J. Y. Kan, R. A. Marino, L. Itti, D. P. Munoz, Superior colliculus neurons encode a visual saliency map during free viewing of natural dynamic video, Nature Communications, Vol. 8, No. 14263, pp. 1-9, Jan 2017. [2015 impact factor: 11.329] (Cited by 7)

Abstract: Models of visual attention postulate the existence of a saliency map whose function is to guide attention and gaze to the most conspicuous regions in a visual scene. Although cortical representations of saliency have been reported, there is mounting evidence for a subcortical saliency mechanism, which pre-dates the evolution of neocortex. Here, we conduct a strong test of the saliency hypothesis by comparing the output of a well-established computational saliency model with the activation of neurons in the primate superior colliculus (SC), a midbrain structure associated with attention and gaze, while monkeys watched video of natural scenes. We find that the activity of SC superficial visual-layer neurons (SCs), specifically, is well-predicted by the model. This saliency representation is unlikely to be inherited from fronto-parietal cortices, which do not project to SCs, but may be computed in SCs and relayed to other areas via tectothalamic pathways.

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


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