Learning distinct and complementary feature selectivities from natural colour videos

Wolfgang Einhäuser*, Christoph Kayser, Konrad P. Körding, Peter König

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Many biological and artificial neural networks require the parallel extraction of multiple features, and meet this requirement with distinct populations of neurons that are selective to one property of the stimulus while being non-selective to another property. In this way, several populations can resolve a set of features independently of each other, and thus achieve a parallel mode of processing. This raises the question how an initially homogeneous population of neurons segregates into groups with distinct and complementary response properties. Using a colour image sequence recorded from a camera mounted on the head of a freely behaving cat, we train a network of neurons to achieve optimally stable responses, that is, responses that change minimally over time. This objective leads to the development of colour-selective neurons. Adding a second objective, decorrelating activity within the network, a subpopulation of neurons develops with achromatic response properties. Colour selective neurons tend to be non-oriented while achromatic neurons are orientation-tuned. The proposed objective thus successfully leads to the segregation of neurons into complementary populations that are either selective for colour or orientation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-52
Number of pages10
JournalReviews in the Neurosciences
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2003


  • Colour
  • Learning
  • Natural stimuli
  • Temporal coherence
  • Visual cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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