Saliency and brain waves

Description: The premise of this project is that neurons and groups of neurons in the brain behave as oscillators with peak amplitudes in different frequency bands. We will test the theory that attention modulates the synchrony between the activities of different groups of neurons as well as Local Field Potentials in a frequency-dependent manner. This hypothesis has been supported by neurophysiological data, but has yet to be explored in a detailed model of scene analysis. This could also have a follow-up experiment using EEG recording sounds and images that belong to the same and different objects and analyzing synchrony between visual and auditory brain areas.

We could possibly also use the input from the artificial retina and convert into oscillations. Attention could synchronize the areas of the retina that are spatially attended. In case we have multiple layers of detectors tuned for different features attention could also synchronize them when a certain feature is attended. One question here is in which frequency band the oscillations would do best. Also oscillations between auditory and visual detectors could produce the object percept (see Singer’s work).

Expected Outcome: Model comparison using ‘classic’ models of saliency vs. synchrony-based saliency.


  1. Jonathan Tapson (Cape Town)
  2. Shih-Chii Liu (ETH) - Lead