Proscription supports robust perceptual integration by suppression in human visual cortex.20 Mar 2018
Perception relies on integrating information within and between the senses, but how does the brain decide which pieces of information should be integrated and which kept separate? Here we demonstrate how proscription can be used to solve this problem: certain neurons respond best to unrealistic combinations of features to provide 'what not' information that drives suppression of unlikely perceptual interpretations. First, we present a model that captures both improved perception when signals are consistent (and thus should be integrated) and robust estimation when signals are conflicting. Second, we test for signatures of proscription in the human brain. We show that concentrations of inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in a brain region intricately involved in integrating cues (V3B/KO) correlate with robust integration. Finally, we show that perturbing excitation/inhibition impairs integration. These results highlight the role of proscription in robust perception and demonstrate the functional purpose of 'what not' sensors in supporting sensory estimation.