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Physiological constraints of visual pathway lead to more efficient coding of information in retina

Nowadays, numerous studies have investigated the modeling of efficient neural encoding processes in the retina of the eye to encode the sensory data. Retina, as the innermost coat of the eye, is the first and the most important area of the visual neural system of mammalians, which is responsible for neural processes. Retina encodes the information of light intensity into a sequence of spikes, and sends them to retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) for further processing. An appropriate retinal encoding model should be adapted to the real retina as much as possible by considering the physiological constraints of the visual pathway to transfer most of the information of the input signal to the brain without too much redundancy of the channel. In this paper, inspired from the existing linear models of retinal encoding process, which have employed input noise and the spatial locality of the RGCs receptive fields (RFs) in the calculation of the encoding matrix, two extra physiological constraints, adapted from the real retina are taken into account so as to achieve a more realistic model for the mammalian retina. These new constraints that are the correlation between RGCs and the spatial locality of the photoreceptors’ projective fields (PFs), are modeled in a mathematical form and analyzed in detail. To quantify fidelity of the proposed encoding matrix and prove its superiority over existing models, various parameters of the models are calculated and presented in this paper: mean square error between the original and reconstructed image (MSE), the redundancy of the channel, the amount of information transferred through the channel, and the amount of wasted capacity for carrying input noise, to name a few. The results of these calculations show that the proposed model transfers input information with less redundancy of the channel. In other words, it reduces a portion of channel capacity which is wasted for carrying the input noise in comparison to the existing models. Also, due to considering extra physiological constraints in the proposed model, it is acceptable to have a slightly higher amount of MSE value in order to become similar to the real retina.

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