Cortical Correlates of Low-Level Perception: From Neural Circuits to Percepts

Neuron. 2015 Oct 7;88(1):110-26. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.09.041.


Low-level perception results from neural-based computations, which build a multimodal skeleton of unconscious or self-generated inferences on our environment. This review identifies bottleneck issues concerning the role of early primary sensory cortical areas, mostly in rodent and higher mammals (cats and non-human primates), where perception substrates can be searched at multiple scales of neural integration. We discuss the limitation of purely bottom-up approaches for providing realistic models of early sensory processing and the need for identification of fast adaptive processes, operating within the time of a percept. Future progresses will depend on the careful use of comparative neuroscience (guiding the choices of experimental models and species adapted to the questions under study), on the definition of agreed-upon benchmarks for sensory stimulation, on the simultaneous acquisition of neural data at multiple spatio-temporal scales, and on the in vivo identification of key generic integration and plasticity algorithms validated experimentally and in simulations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Perception / physiology*
  • Sensation / physiology