Research Group Leader

Prof. Dr. Matthias Bethge
Prof. Dr. Matthias Bethge
Phone: +49 7071 29-89017
Fax: +49 7071 29-25015


Secretary: Heike König
Phone: +49 7071 29-89018
Fax: +49 7071 29-25015


Efficient Coding in the Retina (Winter Term 07/08)
Course Content
Despite the apparent ease of visual perception, the algorithms which allow us to determine the content of an image are not known. In particular, the present knowledge of the neurobiology of vision is too limited to reveal these algorithms.
For the retina, the neural circuitry and physiology is known to much greater detail than for any other part of the visual system. Therefore, it seems to be a more feasible challenge to relate the spatial and temporal response properties of the retina to specific image processing tasks. A number of studies have proposed that these properties serve to remove redundancies in the encoding of the visual input. In particular, it has been argued that the sensitivity of retinal ganglion cells is matched to the statistics of natural scenes, resulting in a flattened response spectrum across a range of spatial frequencies. Furthermore, other neural tuning properties such as red-green/blue-yellow color opponent coding, contrast gain control and center-surround receptive field profiles have been related to the redundancy reduction hypothesis as well.
In this block seminar, we will discuss a number of important studies in this line of research. The topic can serve as an instructive example of how the combination of neurobiological, psychophysical, and theoretical approaches can help to advance our understanding of vision. Each participant will present one paper during the seminar. In addition, we will have time for comparisons of and discussions on the different papers.
Location and Time
Dr. Matthias Bethge


Field, G D, and E J Chichilnisky. 2007. Information processing in the primate retina: circuitry and coding. Annual review of neuroscience 30:1-30.

Atick, Joseph J., and A. Norman Redlich. 1992. What does the retina know about natural scenes? . MIT Press.

Last updated: Wednesday, 27.02.2013