Predictive coding in the visual cortex: a functional interpretation of some extra-classical receptive-field effects

Nat Neurosci. 1999 Jan;2(1):79-87. doi: 10.1038/4580.


We describe a model of visual processing in which feedback connections from a higher- to a lower-order visual cortical area carry predictions of lower-level neural activities, whereas the feedforward connections carry the residual errors between the predictions and the actual lower-level activities. When exposed to natural images, a hierarchical network of model neurons implementing such a model developed simple-cell-like receptive fields. A subset of neurons responsible for carrying the residual errors showed endstopping and other extra-classical receptive-field effects. These results suggest that rather than being exclusively feedforward phenomena, nonclassical surround effects in the visual cortex may also result from cortico-cortical feedback as a consequence of the visual system using an efficient hierarchical strategy for encoding natural images.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Feedback
  • Forecasting
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology