Unsupervised changes in core object recognition behavior are predicted by unsupervised neural plasticity in inferior temporal cortex


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Temporal continuity of object identity is a feature of natural visual input, and is potentially exploited -- in an unsupervised manner -- by the ventral visual stream to build the neural representation in inferior temporal (IT) cortex and IT-dependent core object recognition behavior. Here we investigated whether plasticity of individual IT neurons underlies human behavioral changes induced with unsupervised visual experience by building a single-neuron plasticity model combined with a previously established IT population-to-recognition-behavior linking model to predict human learning effects. We found that our model quite accurately predicted the mean direction, magnitude and time course of human performance changes. We also found a previously unreported dependency of the observed human performance change on the initial task difficulty. This result adds support to the hypothesis that tolerant core object recognition in human and non-human primates is instructed -- at least in part -- by naturally occurring unsupervised temporal contiguity experience.
object recognition,unsupervised learning,temporal continuity,inferior temporal cortex,neural plasticity,human psychophysics
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