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Neural correlates of texture-based perception of slant/tilt?

Michael Hucka hucka at eecs.umich.edu
Fri Apr 5 11:41:31 EST 1996

I'd like to find out if there exists empirical evidence for neural correlates
of the texture-based perception of surface orientation.

There is of course substantial evidence that neurons in V1 and other cortical
areas in monkeys and cats can respond selectively to texture patterns (e.g.,
Nothdurft & Li, 1985; Sary et al., 1995; Van Essen et al., 1989).  However,
virtually all of the studies I've been able to find have involved
discrimination of flat textures, something that would be useful primarily in
texture-based visual segmentation.  Texture can be a source of information
not only for segmenting regions in a visual input, but also for inferring
shape information such as surface slant.  This latter aspect is well-known in
research on human vision (e.g. Cutting & Millard, 1984; Gibson, 1950; Todd &
Akerstrom, 1987) and computer vision.  I'm trying to understand whether this
kind of processing (extracting surface slant/tilt) takes place early in the
brain and is supported by special-purpose neural hardware.

So far, the only study that I have found that directly addresses this
question was by Gallant, Van Essen, & Nothdurft, 1995.  They examined V4 in
monkeys, and although they found some neurons that appeared to respond to
slant/tilt, they concluded that the responses were better explained as being
the result of sensitivity to other stimulus features that covaried with
slant/tilt (e.g., texture element size).  Thus, they concluded that they did
not find neurons in V4 sensitive to slant/tilt.

As they noted, however, V4 is only one of many visual areas.  It is possible
that this kind of selective response to textured surface orientation does
exist, but elsewhere.  So my question is, can anyone point me to other work
that has examined this question?

Mike Hucka (hucka at umich.edu), University of Michigan AI Lab


Cutting, J.E., and Millard, R.T. (1984) "Three Gradients and the Perception
of Flat and Curved Surfaces," J. Exp. Psych: Gen., 113(2):198-216.

Gallant, J.L, Van Essen, D.C., and Nothdurft, H.-C. (1995) "Two-Dimensional
and Three-Dimensional Texture Processing in Visual Cortex of the Macaque
Monkey," pp. 89-98 in Early Vision and Beyond, eds. Papathomas, Chubb, Gorea
and Kowler, MIT Press.

Gibson, J. (1950) "The Perception of Visual Surfaces," Am. J. Psych.

Knierim, J.T., and Van Essen, D.C. (1992) "Neuronal Responses to Static
Texture Patterns in Area V1 of the Alert Macaque Monkey," J. Neuropsych.

Nothdurft, H.-C., and Li, C.Y. (1985) "Texture Discriminators: Representation
of Orientation and Luminance Differences in Cells of the Cat Striate Cortex,"
Vis. Res. 25(1):99-113.

Sary, G., Vogels, R., Kovacs, G., and Orban, G.A. (1995) "Responses of Monkey
Inferior Temporal Neurons to Luminance-, Motion-, and Texture-Defined
Gratings," J. Neurophys. 73(4):1341-1354.

Todd, J.T., and Akerstrom, R.A. (1987) "Perception of Three-Dimensional Form

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