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Hardcover | $61.00 Short | £50.95 | 656 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 151 b&w illus., 5 tables, 15 color plates | October 2011 | ISBN: 9780262016247
eBook | $43.00 Short | October 2011 | ISBN: 9780262299183
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Visual Population Codes

Toward a Common Multivariate Framework for Cell Recording and Functional Imaging


Vision is a massively parallel computational process, in which the retinal image is transformed over a sequence of stages so as to emphasize behaviorally relevant information (such as object category and identity) and deemphasize other information (such as viewpoint and lighting). The processes behind vision operate by concurrent computation and message passing among neurons within a visual area and between different areas. The theoretical concept of "population code" encapsulates the idea that visual content is represented at each stage by the pattern of activity across the local population of neurons. Understanding visual population codes ultimately requires multichannel measurement and multivariate analysis of activity patterns. Over the past decade, the multivariate approach has gained significant momentum in vision research. Functional imaging and cell recording measure brain activity in fundamentally different ways, but they now use similar theoretical concepts and mathematical tools in their modeling and analyses.

With a focus on the ventral processing stream thought to underlie object recognition, this book presents recent advances in our understanding of visual population codes, novel multivariate pattern-information analysis techniques, and the beginnings of a unified perspective for cell recording and functional imaging. It serves as an introduction, overview, and reference for scientists and students across disciplines who are interested in human and primate vision and, more generally, in understanding how the brain represents and processes information.

About the Editors

Nikolaus Kriegeskorte is Principal Investigator at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, UK.

Gabriel Kreiman is Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Neurology at Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School.


“Everything you wanted to know about neural coding in the visual system is in this book, and it is clearly presented by some of the best people in this important field of research.”
Leo M. Chalupa, Vice President for Research, The George Washington University
“How the brain represents the world is a central question—maybe the central question— for neuroscience. This book uniquely integrates the new evidence from both single neuron and fMRI studies that are making real progress on this question in the ventral visual stream. It's a rare treat, with stimulating new ideas in every chapter, and the editors have welded chapters by cutting-edge scientists in an exceptionally coherent way.”
Oliver Braddick, FMedSci, University of Oxford