Reconstruction of natural images from responses of primate retinal ganglion cells

Nora Brackbill

(Stanford University)

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Date: April 2, 2018


Visual signaling by the retina is often probed by studying how retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) respond to visual stimuli. A converse approach is to infer, or reconstruct, the incident stimulus from RGC spikes. Reconstruction provides a view of the information that RGCs transmit to the brain in terms of the stimulus, rather than in terms of spikes. In this talk, I will discuss linear reconstruction of natural images from the activity of complete populations of two major RGC types in the primate retina, obtained using large-scale, multi-electrode recordings. Examination of the reconstruction filters indicated that the spatial visual message conveyed by a single RGC about natural scenes, in the context of the activity of the RGC population, closely resembled the receptive field found by reverse correlation with a white noise stimulus. The effect of correlated firing between RGCs on reconstruction, while statistically significant, was typically a small fraction of the effect of trial-to-trial response variability. ON and OFF RGC populations conveyed information about different ranges of contrast in the image, and both were necessary to reconstruct the full range. I will discuss ongoing work extending to more cell types, reconstruction of spatiotemporal movies, and novel nonlinear approaches to reconstruction.

Created: Thursday, April 12th, 2018