A Modeling Study of the Emergence of Eye Position Gain Fields Modulating the Responses of Visual Neurons in the Brain

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The responses of many cortical neurons to visual stimuli are modulated by the position of the eye. This form of gain modulation by eye position does not change the retinotopic selectivity of the responses, but only changes the amplitude of the responses. Particularly in the case of cortical responses, this form of eye position gain modulation has been observed to be multiplicative. Multiplicative gain modulated responses are crucial to encode information that is relevant to high-level visual functions, such as stable spatial awareness, eye movement planning, visual-motor behaviors, and coordinate transformation. Here we first present a hardwired model of different functional forms of gain modulation, including peaked and monotonic modulation by eye position. We use a biologically realistic Gaussian function to model the influence of the position of the eye on the internal activation of visual neurons. Next we show how different functional forms of gain modulation by eye position may develop in a self-organizing neural network model of visual neurons. A further contribution of our work is the investigation of the influence of the width of the eye position tuning curve on the development of a variety of forms of eye position gain modulation. Our simulation results show how the width of the eye position tuning curve affects the development of different forms of gain modulation of visual responses by the position of the eye.

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