Computer model of face processing could reveal how the brain produces richly detailed visual representations so quickly.
March 4, 2020
Images of faces next to computer-generated versions of that face

MIT cognitive scientists have developed a computer model of face recognition that performs a series of computations that reverse the steps that a computer graphics program would use to generate a 2D representation of a face. Credit: MIT.

A team led by MIT cognitive scientists has produced a computer model that captures the human visual system’s ability to quickly generate a detailed scene description from an image, and offers some insight into how the brain achieves this.

The new model posits that when the brain receives visual input, it quickly performs a series of computations that reverse the steps that a computer graphics program would use to generate a 2D representation of a face or other object. This type of model, known as efficient inverse graphics (EIG), also correlates well with electrical recordings from face-selective regions in the brains of nonhuman primates, suggesting that the primate visual system may be organized in much the same way as the computer model, the researchers say.