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Visual perception has all the hallmarks of an ongoing, cooperative-competitive process: probabilistic outcome, self-organization, order-disorder transitions, multi-stability, and hysteresis.  Accordingly, it is tempting to speculate that the underlying collective neural activity performs an exploratory attractor dynamics (spontaneous transitions between distinct steady-states), perhaps at multiple spatial and temporal scales.  Here I summarize our recent investigations of this dynamical hypothesis.  In several instances, a careful empirical study of perceptual dynamics fully constrains an idealized model of the stochastic dynamics of collective neural activity.

I conclude that the dynamical hypothesis outlined above permits a particularly close and direct back-and-forth between perceptual experiment and computational theory and thus has the potential to dramatically accelerate our progress in understanding visual function.

(contact Eli Fulcini if you have any questions: