Extending position/phase-shift tuning to motion energy neurons improves velocity discrimination

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 20 (NIPS 2007)

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Yiu Lam, Bertram Shi


We extend position and phase-shift tuning, concepts already well established in the disparity energy neuron literature, to motion energy neurons. We show that Reichardt-like detectors can be considered examples of position tuning, and that motion energy filters whose complex valued spatio-temporal receptive fields are space-time separable can be considered examples of phase tuning. By combining these two types of detectors, we obtain an architecture for constructing motion energy neurons whose center frequencies can be adjusted by both phase and posi- tion shifts. Similar to recently described neurons in the primary visual cortex, these new motion energy neurons exhibit tuning that is between purely space- time separable and purely speed tuned. We propose a functional role for this intermediate level of tuning by demonstrating that comparisons between pairs of these motion energy neurons can reliably discriminate between inputs whose velocities lie above or below a given reference velocity.