Characterising representation dynamics in recurrent neural networks for object recognition


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Recurrent neural networks (RNNs) have yielded promising results for both recognizing objects in challenging conditions and modeling aspects of primate vision. However, the representational dynamics of recurrent computations remain poorly understood, especially in large-scale visual models. Here, we studied such dynamics in RNNs trained for object classification on MiniEcoset, a novel subset of ecoset. We report two main insights. First, upon inference, representations continued to evolve after correct classification, suggesting a lack of the notion of being ``done with classification''. Second, focusing on ``readout zones'' as a way to characterize the activation trajectories, we observe that misclassified representations exhibit activation patterns with lower L2 norm, and are positioned more peripherally in the readout zones. Such arrangements help the misclassified representations move into the correct zones as time progresses. Our findings generalize to networks with lateral and top-down connections, and include both additive and multiplicative interactions with the bottom-up sweep. The results therefore contribute to a general understanding of RNN dynamics in naturalistic tasks. We hope that the analysis framework will aid future investigations of other types of RNNs, including understanding of representational dynamics in primate vision.
representation dynamics,recurrent neural networks,recognition
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