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How are invariant representations of objects formed in the visual cortex? We describe a neurophysiological and computational approach which focusses on a feature hierarchy model in which invariant representations can be built by self-organizing learning based on the statistics of the visual input. The model can use temporal continuity in an associative synaptic learning rule with a short term memory trace, and/or it can use spatial continuity in Continuous Transformation learning. The model of visual processing in the ventral cortical stream can build representations of objects that are invariant with respect to translation, view, size, and in this paper we show also lighting. The model has been extended to provide an account of invariant representations in the dorsal visual system of the global motion produced by objects such as looming, rotation, and object-based movement. The model has been extended to incorporate top-down feedback connections to model the control of attention by biased competition in for example spatial and object search tasks. The model has also been extended to account for how the visual system can select single objects in complex visual scenes, and how multiple objects can be represented in a scene.

Original publication




Journal article


J Physiol Paris

Publication Date





43 - 62


Animals, Computer Simulation, Humans, Lighting, Models, Neurological, Neural Networks (Computer), Pattern Recognition, Visual, Photic Stimulation, Space Perception, Visual Cortex, Visual Pathways