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posted on 01.04.2022, 11:06 authored by Scott T. Steinmetz, Oliver W. Layton, Nathaniel V. Powell, Brett R. Fajen

This paper introduces a self-tuning mechanism for capturing rapid adaptation to changing visual stimuli by a population of neurons. Building upon the principles of efficient sensory encoding, we show how neural tuning curve parameters can be continually updated to optimally encode a time-varying distribution of recently detected stimulus values. We implemented this mechanism in a neural model that produces human-like estimates of self-motion direction (i.e., heading) based on optic flow. The parameters of speed-sensitive units were dynamically tuned in accordance with efficient sensory encoding such that the network remained sensitive as the distribution of optic flow speeds varied. In two simulation experiments, we found that model performance with dynamic tuning yielded more accurate, shorter latency heading estimates compared to the model with static tuning. We conclude that dynamic efficient sensory encoding offers a plausible approach for capturing adaptation to varying visual environments in biological visual systems and neural models alike.

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