Activations of deep convolutional neural networks are aligned with gamma band activity of human visual cortex

Commun Biol. 2018 Aug 8;1:107. doi: 10.1038/s42003-018-0110-y. eCollection 2018.


Recent advances in the field of artificial intelligence have revealed principles about neural processing, in particular about vision. Previous work demonstrated a direct correspondence between the hierarchy of the human visual areas and layers of deep convolutional neural networks (DCNN) trained on visual object recognition. We use DCNN to investigate which frequency bands correlate with feature transformations of increasing complexity along the ventral visual pathway. By capitalizing on intracranial depth recordings from 100 patients we assess the alignment between the DCNN and signals at different frequency bands. We find that gamma activity (30-70 Hz) matches the increasing complexity of visual feature representations in DCNN. These findings show that the activity of the DCNN captures the essential characteristics of biological object recognition not only in space and time, but also in the frequency domain. These results demonstrate the potential that artificial intelligence algorithms have in advancing our understanding of the brain.