An insect-inspired model for visual binding I: learning objects and their characteristics

Brandon D. Northcutt, Jonathan P. Dyhr, Charles M. Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Visual binding is the process of associating the responses of visual interneurons in different visual submodalities all of which are responding to the same object in the visual field. Recently identified neuropils in the insect brain termed optic glomeruli reside just downstream of the optic lobes and have an internal organization that could support visual binding. Working from anatomical similarities between optic and olfactory glomeruli, we have developed a model of visual binding based on common temporal fluctuations among signals of independent visual submodalities. Here we describe and demonstrate a neural network model capable both of refining selectivity of visual information in a given visual submodality, and of associating visual signals produced by different objects in the visual field by developing inhibitory neural synaptic weights representing the visual scene. We also show that this model is consistent with initial physiological data from optic glomeruli. Further, we discuss how this neural network model may be implemented in optic glomeruli at a neuronal level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-206
Number of pages22
JournalBiological Cybernetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Biomimetic
  • Image understanding
  • Neural networks
  • Neuromorphic
  • Vision
  • Visual binding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • General Computer Science


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