Reciprocally Coupled Local Estimators Implement Bayesian Information Integration Distributively

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 26 (NIPS 2013)

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Wen-Hao Zhang, Si Wu


Psychophysical experiments have demonstrated that the brain integrates information from multiple sensory cues in a near Bayesian optimal manner. The present study proposes a novel mechanism to achieve this. We consider two reciprocally connected networks, mimicking the integration of heading direction information between the dorsal medial superior temporal (MSTd) and the ventral intraparietal (VIP) areas. Each network serves as a local estimator and receives an independent cue, either the visual or the vestibular, as direct input for the external stimulus. We find that positive reciprocal interactions can improve the decoding accuracy of each individual network as if it implements Bayesian inference from two cues. Our model successfully explains the experimental finding that both MSTd and VIP achieve Bayesian multisensory integration, though each of them only receives a single cue as direct external input. Our result suggests that the brain may implement optimal information integration distributively at each local estimator through the reciprocal connections between cortical regions.