Simulations of cortical computation have often focused on networks built from simplified neuron models similar to rate models hypothesized for V1 simple cells. However, physiological research has revealed that even V1 simple cells have surprising complexity. Our computational simulations explore the effect of this complexity on the visual system's ability to solve simple tasks, such as the categorization of shapes and digits, after learning from a limited number of examples. We use recently proposed high-throughput methodology to explore what axes of modeling complexity are useful in these categorization tasks. We find that complex cell rate models learn to categorize objects better than simple cell models, and without incurring extra computational expense. We find that the squaring of linear filter responses leads to better performance. We find that several other components of physiologically derived models do not yield better performance.

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