The Compositional Nature of Event Representations in the Human Brain

TitleThe Compositional Nature of Event Representations in the Human Brain
Publication TypeCBMM Memos
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBarbu, A, Barrett, D, Chen, W, Siddharth, N, Xiong, C, Corso, JJ, Fellbaum, CD, Hanson, C, Hanson, SJosé, Helie, S, Malaia, E, Pearlmutter, BA, Siskind, JMark, Talavage, TMichael, Wilbur, RB
Date Published07/14/2014

How does the human brain represent simple compositions of constituents: actors, verbs, objects, directions, and locations? Subjects viewed videos during neuroimaging (fMRI) sessions from which sentential descriptions of those videos were identified by decoding the brain representations based only on their fMRI activation patterns. Constituents (e.g., fold and shirt) were independently decoded from a single presentation. Independent constituent classification was then compared to joint classification of aggregate concepts (e.g., fold -shirt); results were similar as measured by accuracy and correlation. The brain regions used for independent constituent classification are largely disjoint and largely cover those used for joint classification. This allows recovery of sentential descriptions of stimulus videos by composing the results of the independent constituent classifiers. Furthermore, classifiers trained on the words one set of subjects think of when watching a video can recognize sentences a different subject thinks of when watching a different video.




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