Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
The text describes a model that extends the population coding principles to any multidimensional attribute. The model distinguishes between the distribution of cell activity and the overall activity of a population. The distribution of cell activity is assumed to encode attribute information, while overall activity is assumed to reflect the significance or pertinence of the encoded attribute in the cerebral cortex, according to the dual coding principle. Three basic mechanisms of interaction between the representation of attribute and pertinence are defined and are applied to the motion (MT-MST) cortical pathway in the visual cortex. This framework determines three sources of pertinence that model cognitive processing, including preattentive processing, spatial-selective attention, and object-selective attention. The model accommodates most of the published psychophysical, neurophysiological, and neuroanatomical data and makes several testable predictions about the representations of attribute and enhanced effects in these areas.