The efficient coding principle

Zhaoping L. 2014

This is chapter 3 of the textbook Understanding Vision: theory, models, and data Oxford University Press, 2014.

Abstract: Starting with a brief introduction to information theory, this chapter describes in detail the proposal that visual encoding in the early stages of the visual pathway aims to extract as much information as possible about visual inputs using limited neural resources—the efficient coding principle. Through examples and case studies, this principle is applied to understand physiological data on input sampling and neural receptive fields in the retina and the primary visual cortex (V1), and to understand the consequent behavioral sensitivities to visual inputs. In particular, this principle is applied to understand spatial coding, temporal coding, stereo coding, and color coding, as well as how visual coding in these different dimensions interact with each other and how the coding adapts to input environment. Predictions from this principle and their experimental tests are presented.

Keywords: visual encoding, spatial coding, stereo coding, color coding, temporal coding, neural receptive fields, retina, primary visual cortex, behavioral sensitivities

Its figures in a pptx file

A intro. video lecture on this chapter