We have no difficulty seeing a straight line drawn on a paper even when the paper is bent, but this inference is in fact nontrivial. Doing so requires either matching of local features or representing the pattern after factoring out the surface shape. Here we show that single neurons in the monkey inferior temporal cortex show invariant responses to patterns across rigid and non-rigid changes of surfaces. We recorded neuronal responses to stimuli in which the pattern and the surrounding surface were varied independently. In a subset of neurons, we found pattern-surface interactions that produced similar responses to stimuli across congruent pattern & surface transformations. These interactions produced systematic shifts in curvature tuning of patterns when overlaid on convex and flat surfaces. Our results show that surfaces are factored out of patterns by single neurons, thereby enabling complex perceptual inferences.
- object recognition
- 3d vision
- object perception
- Copyright © 2016, Journal of Neurophysiology