Friday, February 26, 2010

Poor kitty, but nice neurons

My graduate student and I are working on a neural network model of the visual system. We've been learning a lot about neuroscience, and I'm loving it. I'm also sitting in on PSYCH 261 (Physiological Psychology), and this week we covered the visual system. The prof. showed us this short YouTube video:

It shows Hubel and Wiesel in the 1960s measuring how certain neurons react to different light stimuli. They clamped a cat's head down and stuck an electrode into its brain (OK, the sad part is over). They found that certain neurons reacted to particular patterns of light, not just brightness. It's those patterns that we're trying to get our computerized visual system to spontaneously generate, thereby positing a theory for how the visual system achieves this organization. We're getting there.

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