Event Abstract

Bayesian estimation of orientation preference maps

Neurons in the early visual cortex of mammals exhibit a striking organization with respect to their functional properties. A prominent example is the layout of orientation preferences in primary visual cortex, the orientation preference map (OPM). Functional imaging techniques, such as optical imaging of intrinsic signals have been used extensively for the measurement of OPMs. As the signal-to-noise ratio in individual pixels if often low, the signals are usually spatially smoothed with a fixed linear filter to obtain an estimate of the functional map.

Here, we consider the estimation of the map from noisy measurements as a Bayesian inference problem. By combining prior knowledge about the structure of OPMs with experimental measurements, we want to obtain better estimates of the OPM with smaller trial numbers. In addition, the use of an explicit, probabilistic model for the data provides a principled framework for setting parameters and smoothing.

We model the underlying map as a bivariate Gaussian process (GP, a.k.a. Gaussian random field), with a prior covariance function that reflects known properties of OPMs. The posterior mean of the map can be interpreted as an optimally smoothed map. Hyper-parameters of the model can be chosen by optimization of the marginal likelihood. In addition, the GP also returns a predicted map for any location, and can therefore be used for extending the map to pixel at which no, or only unreliable data was obtained.

We also obtain a posterior distribution over maps, from which we can estimate the posterior uncertainty of statistical properties of the maps, such as the pinwheel density. Finally, our probabilistic model of both the signal and the noise can be used for decoding, and for estimating the informational content of the map.

Conference: Computational and systems neuroscience 2009, Salt Lake City, UT, United States, 26 Feb - 3 Mar, 2009.

Presentation Type: Poster Presentation

Topic: Poster Presentations

Citation: Macke J, Gerwinn S, White L, Kaschube M and Bethge M (2009). Bayesian estimation of orientation preference maps. Front. Syst. Neurosci. Conference Abstract: Computational and systems neuroscience 2009. doi: 10.3389/conf.neuro.06.2009.03.310

Received: 04 Feb 2009; Published Online: 04 Feb 2009.

* Correspondence: Jakob Macke, jakob.macke@gmail.com

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