Dynamics of temporally interleaved percept-choice sequences: interaction via adaptation in shared neural populations

André J. Noest*, Richard J.A. van Wezel

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)
    77 Downloads (Pure)


    At the onset of visually ambiguous or conflicting stimuli, our visual system quickly ‘chooses’ one of the possible percepts. Interrupted presentation of the same stimuli has revealed that each percept-choice depends strongly on the history of previous choices and the duration of the interruptions. Recent psychophysics and modeling has discovered increasingly rich dynamical structure in such percept-choice sequences, and explained or predicted these patterns in terms of simple neural mechanisms: fast cross-inhibition and slow shunting adaptation that also causes a near-threshold facilitatory effect. However, we still lack a clear understanding of the dynamical interactions between two distinct, temporally interleaved, percept-choice sequences—a type of experiment that probes which feature-level neural network connectivity and dynamics allow the visual system to resolve the vast ambiguity of everyday vision. Here, we fill this gap. We first show that a simple column-structured neural network captures the known phenomenology, and then identify and analyze the crucial underlying mechanism via two stages of model-reduction: A 6-population reduction shows how temporally well-separated sequences become coupled via adaptation in neurons that are shared between the populations driven by either of the two sequences. The essential dynamics can then be reduced further, to a set of iterated adaptation-maps. This enables detailed analysis, resulting in the prediction of phase-diagrams of possible sequence-pair patterns and their response to perturbations. These predictions invite a variety of future experiments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)177-195
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of computational neuroscience
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • BSS-Neurotechnology and cellular engineering
    • Neural network model
    • Psychophysics
    • Iterated map dynamics
    • Visual ambiguity
    • Perceptual decision
    • Biased competition


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