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Experimental tests of the theory that V1 creates a bottom-up visual saliency map for attentional guidance

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Host: Máté Lengyel, Engineering Department

Despite our extensive knowledge on the physiology and anatomy of the primary visual cortex, its functional role in vision is still regarded by the research community as mostly unclear. This talk will first review the background and the motivation for the 10 year old theoretical hypothesis that the primary visual cortex (V1) creates a bottom-up saliency map to guide attention or gaze. Then, I will present the recent experimental tests that confirmed some of the non-trivial predictions from this theory, including the surprising prediction that an eye-of-origin singleton, which is non-distinctive to visual awareness, can nevertheless pop out to attract attention. Implications on the neural substrates of both the top-down and bottom-up visual attention will be discussed. Some backgrounds and details can be found at http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/staff/Zhaoping.Li/V1Saliency.html

This talk is part of the Craik Club series.

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