Tactile or Visual?: Stimulus Characteristics Determine Receptive Field Type in a Self-organizing Map Model of Cortical Development Conference Paper uri icon


  • Tactile receptive fields (RFs) are similar to visual receptive fields, while there is a subtle difference. Our previous work showed that tactile RFs have advantage in texture boundary detection tasks compared to visual RFs. Our working hypothesis was that tactile RFs are better in texture tasks since texture is basically a surface property, more intimately linked with touch than with vision. From an information processing point of view, touch and vision are very similar (i.e., two dimensional sensory surface). Then, the question is what drives the two types of RFs to become different? In this paper, we investigated the possibility that tactile RF and visual RF emerge based on an identical cortical learning process, where the only difference is in the input type, natural-scene-like vs. texture like.We trained a self-organizing map model of the cortex (theLISSOM model) on two different kinds of input, (1) natural scene and (2) texture, and compared the resulting RFs. The main result is that RFs trained on natural scenes have RFs resembling visual RFs, while those trained on texture resemble tactile RFs. These results suggest that the type of input most commonly stimulating the sensory modality (natural scene for vision and texture for touch), and not the intrinsic organizationof the sensors or the developmental process in the cortex, determine the RF property. We expect these results to shed new light on the differences and similarities between touch and vision. 2009 IEEE.

name of conference

  • 2009 IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence for Multimedia Signal and Vision Processing

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Park, C., Bai, Y. H., & Choe, Y.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Park, Choonseog||Bai, Yoon H||Choe, Yoonsuck

publication date

  • March 2009