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Compensating time delays with neural predictions: Are predictions sensory or motor?

By Romi Nijhawan and Si Wu


Neural delays are a general property of computations carried out by neural circuits. Delays are a natural consequence of temporal summation and coding used by the nervous system to integrate information from multiple resources. For adaptive behaviour, however, these delays must be compensated. In order to sense and interact with moving objects, for example, the visual system must predict the future position of the object to compensate for delays. In this paper, we address two critical questions concerning the implementation of the compensation mechanisms in the brain, namely, where does compensation occur and how is it realized. We present evidence showing that compensation can happen in both the motor and sensory systems, and that compensation using 'diagonal neural pathways' is a suitable strategy for implementing compensation in the visual system. In this strategy, neural signals in the early stage of information processing are sent to the future cortical positions that correspond to the distance the object will travel in the period of transmission delay. We propose a computational model to elucidate this using the retinal visual information pathway. © 2009 The Royal Society

Publisher: Royal Society, The
Year: 2009
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