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Hypothesis and Theory ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neural Circuits | doi: 10.3389/fncir.2019.00022

Locations in the Neocortex: A Theory of Sensorimotor Object Recognition Using Cortical Grid Cells

  • 1Numenta Inc., United States

The neocortex is capable of anticipating the sensory results of movement but the neural mechanisms are poorly understood. In the entorhinal cortex, grid cells represent the location of an animal in its environment, and this location is updated through movement and path integration. In this paper, we propose that sensory neocortex incorporates movement using grid cell-like neurons that represent the location of sensors on an object. We describe a two-layer neural network model that uses cortical grid cells and path integration to robustly learn and recognize objects through movement and predict sensory stimuli after movement. A layer of cells consisting of several grid cell-like modules represents a location in the reference frame of a specific object. Another layer of cells which processes sensory input receives this location input as context and uses it to encode the sensory input in the object’s reference frame. Sensory input causes the network to invoke previously learned locations that are consistent with the input, and motor input causes the network to update those locations. Simulations show that the model can learn hundreds of objects even when object features alone are insufficient for disambiguation. We discuss the relationship of the model to cortical circuitry and suggest that the reciprocal connections between layers 4 and 6 fit the requirements of the model. We propose that the subgranular layers of cortical columns employ grid cell-like mechanisms to represent object specific locations that are updated through movement.

Keywords: Neocortex, sensorimotor learning, grid cells, object recognition, Hierarchical temporal memory

Received: 18 Sep 2018; Accepted: 19 Mar 2019.

Edited by:

Fritjof Helmchen, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Reviewed by:

Alessandro Treves, Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA), Italy
Matthew Nolan, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2019 Lewis, Purdy, Ahmad and Hawkins. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Marcus Lewis, Numenta Inc., Redwood City, United States, mrcslws@gmail.com