Ideal Binocular Disparity Detectors Learned Using Independent Subspace Analysis on Binocular Natural Image Pairs

PLoS One. 2016 Mar 16;11(3):e0150117. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150117. eCollection 2016.


An influential theory of mammalian vision, known as the efficient coding hypothesis, holds that early stages in the visual cortex attempts to form an efficient coding of ecologically valid stimuli. Although numerous authors have successfully modelled some aspects of early vision mathematically, closer inspection has found substantial discrepancies between the predictions of some of these models and observations of neurons in the visual cortex. In particular analysis of linear-non-linear models of simple-cells using Independent Component Analysis has found a strong bias towards features on the horoptor. In order to investigate the link between the information content of binocular images, mathematical models of complex cells and physiological recordings, we applied Independent Subspace Analysis to binocular image patches in order to learn a set of complex-cell-like models. We found that these complex-cell-like models exhibited a wide range of binocular disparity-discriminability, although only a minority exhibited high binocular discrimination scores. However, in common with the linear-non-linear model case we found that feature detection was limited to the horoptor suggesting that current mathematical models are limited in their ability to explain the functionality of the visual cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Models, Biological
  • Vision, Binocular*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology