Charles Stevens

Predicting functional properties of visual cortex from an evolutionary scaling law

Salk Institute

The number of neurons in the primary visual cortex (V1) is, across primate species, related to the number of neurons in the visual thalamus (the lateral geniculate nucleus, LGN) by a power law with an exponent of 3/2. This evolutionary scaling law is explained by a simple theory based on cortical structure 1 . According to the theory, the number of cortical pixels used to represent the visual world and the number of neurons used to represent the information for each pixel are related. This same theory provides a link between two functional properties of the visual system, the areal cortical magnification factor (ACMF) and the receptive field (RF) area.

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