ArticlePDF Available

Development of the Brain Depends on the Visual Environment

Authors:

Abstract

IN a normal cat, neurones of the visual cortex are selective for the orientation of lines and edges in the visual field, and the preferred orientations of different cells are distributed all around the clock1. Hirsch and Spinelli2 have recently reported that early visual experience can change this organization. They reared kittens with one eye viewing vertical stripes, the other horizontal, and found that out of twenty-one neurones with elongated receptive fields all were monocularly driven, and in all but one case the orientation of the receptive field closely matched the pattern experienced by that eye.
© 1970 Nature Publishing Group
© 1970 Nature Publishing Group
... Beyond early visual areas, an extensive network throughout the human association cortices shows visual timing-tuned responses, with maximum response amplitudes at specific preferred durations (the time from event onset to offset) and periods (the time between repeating event onsets; i.e., 1/frequency) 19 . Tuned neural responses are common throughout sensory and cognitive processing, and are closely linked to the perception of many stimulus features 20,21 , including visual motion 22 , somatosensory vibrational frequency 23 , and other quantities like numerosity [24][25][26] (recently reviewed by ref. 27 ). Even for visual event timing, changes in duration-tuned responses and duration perception are linked [28][29][30] . ...
... We grouped these voxels into visual field maps ( Fig. 2 and Supplementary Figs. 3, 4), then took the median model fit (cross-validated variance explained) in each visual field map and used a three-factor ANOVA to assess how model fits differed between visual field maps, models and participants. Model fits (R 2 ) differed between visual field maps (F (20,1109) = 15.96, p < 0.001, η p 2 = 0.23) but not between models (F (1, 1128) = 0.15, p = 0.695, η p 2 = 0.00). ...
... p < 0.001, η p 2 = 0.23) but not between models (F (1, 1128) = 0.15, p = 0.695, η p 2 = 0.00). However, there was an interaction between visual field map and model (F (20,1109) = 20.93, p < 0.001, η p 2 = 0.28). ...
Article
Full-text available
Quantifying the timing (duration and frequency) of brief visual events is vital to human perception, multisensory integration and action planning. Tuned neural responses to visual event timing have been found in association cortices, in areas implicated in these processes. Here we ask how these timing-tuned responses are related to the responses of early visual cortex, which monotonically increase with event duration and frequency. Using 7-Tesla functional magnetic resonance imaging and neural model-based analyses, we find a gradual transition from monotonically increasing to timing-tuned neural responses beginning in the medial temporal area (MT/V5). Therefore, across successive stages of visual processing, timing-tuned response components gradually become dominant over inherent sensory response modulation by event timing. This additional timing-tuned response component is independent of retinotopic location. We propose that this hierarchical emergence of timing-tuned responses from sensory processing areas quantifies sensory event timing while abstracting temporal representations from spatial properties of their inputs.
... Early visual experience can change this organization: kittens were exposed to visual environments that entirely consisted of high contrast black and white stripes either horizontal or vertical. This intervention changed the distribution of the orientation sensitivity of the visual cortical neurons 4 . These experiments were more recently reproduced with various imaging methods. ...
Article
An obituary by Zoltán Molnár and Andrew Parker of neuroscientist Colin Blakemore, who made major contributions to our understanding of sensory systems and their neural plasticity, and who established a new culture of openness in science and the importance of dialogue with the general public.
... Early visual experience can change this organization: kittens were exposed to visual environments that entirely consisted of high contrast black and white stripes either horizontal or vertical. This intervention changed the distribution of the orientation sensitivity of the visual cortical neurons 4 . These experiments were more recently reproduced with various imaging methods. ...
... While many neurons responded to vertical lines, there were basically none that responded to horizontal ones. And as expected, when a stick was placed horizontally in Blakemore and Cooper 1970) front of these cats, they would stumble on it, as if they could not see them at all. ...
Chapter
In this final chapter, I introduce a mind uploading process that consists of three stages—constructing a machine with neutral consciousness, connecting and integrating our own consciousness with it, and finally, transferring our memory to it. Notably, unlike other proposed methods that attempt to make digital copies of our brains, you wouldn’t need to die first and taken your brain out of your skull. It would be a totally seamless procedure. Here the first two stages are shared with the “analysis by synthesis” approach in scientifically deciphering consciousness, where the proposed new brain machine interface is the key to making it happen in the near future.
... While many neurons responded to vertical lines, there were basically none that responded to horizontal ones. And as expected, when a stick was placed horizontally in Blakemore and Cooper 1970) front of these cats, they would stumble on it, as if they could not see them at all. ...
... What is possible to represent in this way by NFRs in the brain/artificial architecture is only constrained by the set of available feature representations that can be associated. In the mammalian brain, such feature representations are likely formed in early developmental phases and then to a large extent fixed and closed, see, e.g., [18]. It follows that there are likely constraints to what we can think. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
I propose a number of principles that I believe are substantial for various faculties of the mammalian brain, such as perception, expectations, imagery, and memory. The same principles are also of interest when designing an artificial but biologically inspired cognitive architecture. More-over, I discuss how the same principles may lie behind the ability to represent new concepts and to imagine fictitious and impossible objects, while also giving us reasons to believe that there are limits to our imagination and to what it is possible for us to think about. Some ideas regarding how these principles could be relevant for an autonomous agent to become functionally conscious are discussed as well.
Article
Interview with Rod Peakall, who studies the evolution of specialised pollinator interactions at the Australian National University.
Article
In many object recognition applications, the set of possible categories is an open set, and the deployed recognition system will encounter novel objects belonging to categories unseen during training. Detecting such “novel category” objects is usually formulated as an anomaly detection problem. Anomaly detection algorithms for feature-vector data identify anomalies as outliers, but outlier detection has not worked well in deep learning. Instead, methods based on the computed logits of visual object classifiers give state-of-the-art performance. This paper proposes the Familiarity Hypothesis that these methods succeed because they are detecting the absence of familiar learned features rather than the presence of novelty. This distinction is important, because familiarity-based detection will fail in many situations where novelty is present. For example when an image contains both a novel object and a familiar one, the familiarity score will be high, so the novel object will not be noticed. The paper reviews evidence from the literature and presents additional evidence from our own experiments that provide strong support for this hypothesis. The paper concludes with a discussion of whether familiarity-based detection is an inevitable consequence of representation learning.
Article
Full-text available
Full and exact adaptation to sensory rearrangement in adult human Ss requires movement-produced sensory feedback. Riesen's work suggested that this factor also operates in the development of higher mammals but he proposed that sensory-sensory associations are the proposed that sensory-sensory associations are the prerequisite. To test these alternatives, visual stimulation of the active member (A) of each of 10 pairs of neonatal kittens was allowed to vary with its locomotor movements while equivalent stimulation of the second member (P) resulted from passive motion. Subsequent tests of visually guided paw placement, discrimination on a visual cliff, and the blink response were normal for A but failing in P. When other alternative explanations are excluded, this result extends the conclusions of studies of adult rearrangement to neonatal development. (18 ref.)
Article
1. Kittens were visually deprived by suturing the lids of the right eye for various periods of time at different ages. Recordings were subsequently made from the striate cortex, and responses from the two eyes compared. As previously reported, monocular eye closure during the first few months of life causes a sharp decline in the number of cells that can be influenced by the previously closed eye.2. Susceptibility to the effects of eye closure begins suddenly near the start of the fourth week, remains high until some time between the sixth and eighth weeks, and then declines, disappearing finally around the end of the third month. Monocular closure for over a year in an adult cat produces no detectable effects.3. During the period of high susceptibility in the fourth and fifth weeks eye closure for as little as 3-4 days leads to a sharp decline in the number of cells that can be driven from both eyes, as well as an over-all decline in the relative influence of the previously closed eye. A 6-day closure is enough to give a reduction in the number of cells that can be driven by the closed eye to a fraction of the normal. The physiological picture is similar to that following a 3-month monocular deprivation from birth, in which the proportion of cells the eye can influence drops from 85 to about 7%.4. Cells of the lateral geniculate receiving input from a deprived eye are noticeably smaller and paler to Nissl stain following 3 or 6 days' deprivation during the fourth week.5. Following 3 months of monocular deprivation, opening the eye for up to 5 yr produces only a very limited recovery in the cortical physiology, and no obvious recovery of the geniculate atrophy, even though behaviourally there is some return of vision in the deprived eye. Closing the normal eye, though necessary for behavioural recovery, has no detectable effect on the cortical physiology. The amount of possible recovery in the striate cortex is probably no greater if the period of eye closure is limited to weeks, but after a 5-week closure there is a definite enhancement of the recovery, even though it is far from complete
Article
Cats were raised from birth with one eye viewing horizontal lines and one eye viewing vertical lines. Elongated receptive fields of cells in the visual cortex were horizontally or vertically oriented—no oblique fields were found. Units with horizontal fields were activated only by the eye exposed to horizontal lines; units with vertical fields only by the eye exposed to vertical lines.
Article
Kittens reared without sight of their limbs extended their forelimbs when carried down toward the edge of a horizontal surface. However, unlike normally reared kittens, they were not capable of guiding their paws accurately to the solid parts of an interrupted surface. This fractionation of the visually controlled placing response reveals that the guided reach requires an integration of sensorimotor systems not necessary for development of the elicited extension response.