288 pp. per issue
6 x 9, illustrated
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Neural Computation

July 2012, Vol. 24, No. 7, Pages 1806-1821
(doi: 10.1162/NECO_a_00305)
© 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A Computational Feedforward Model Predicts Categorization of Masked Emotional Body Language for Longer, but Not for Shorter, Latencies
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Given the presence of massive feedback loops in brain networks, it is difficult to disentangle the contribution of feedforward and feedback processing to the recognition of visual stimuli, in this case, of emotional body expressions. The aim of the work presented in this letter is to shed light on how well feedforward processing explains rapid categorization of this important class of stimuli. By means of parametric masking, it may be possible to control the contribution of feedback activity in human participants. A close comparison is presented between human recognition performance and the performance of a computational neural model that exclusively modeled feedforward processing and was engineered to fulfill the computational requirements of recognition. Results show that the longer the stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA), the closer the performance of the human participants was to the values predicted by the model, with an optimum at an SOA of 100 ms. At short SOA latencies, human performance deteriorated, but the categorization of the emotional expressions was still above baseline. The data suggest that, although theoretically, feedback arising from inferotemporal cortex is likely to be blocked when the SOA is 100 ms, human participants still seem to rely on more local visual feedback processing to equal the model's performance.