The University of Sussex

Correlations, Competition and Optimality: modelling the development of topography and ocular dominance

Geoffrey Goodhill

Biological data suggests that the same mechanisms underly the formation of both topography and ocular dominance in the visual system. In this thesis we discuss in detail several models of visual development, focussing particularly on the form of correlations within and between eyes. Firstly, we analyse the `correlational' model for ocular dominance development recently proposed in Miller et al (1989), and show that the addition of perturbations to the idealized correlations originally considered can cause binocular solutions to be favoured over monocular solutions. Secondly, we extend the elastic net model for the development of topography and ocular dominance, in particular comparing its behaviour in the two-dimensional case with a Kohonen-type algorithm. Thirdly, we introduce a new model that accounts for the develop- ment of topography and ocular dominance even when distributed patterns of activity are presented simultaneously in both eyes, with significant correl- ations both within and between eyes. We suggest that stripe width in the natural system may be influenced by the degree of correlation between the eyes.

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