Brain Captioning: Decoding human brain activity into images and text

Matteo Ferrante, Furkan Ozcelik, Tommaso Boccato, Rufin VanRullen, Nicola Toschi

Every day, the human brain processes an immense volume of visual information, relying on intricate neural mechanisms to perceive and interpret these stimuli. Recent breakthroughs in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have enabled scientists to extract visual information from human brain activity patterns. In this study, we present an innovative method for decoding brain activity into meaningful images and captions, with a specific focus on brain captioning due to its enhanced flexibility as compared to brain decoding into images. Our approach takes advantage of cutting-edge image captioning models and incorporates a unique image reconstruction pipeline that utilizes latent diffusion models and depth estimation. We utilized the Natural Scenes Dataset, a comprehensive fMRI dataset from eight subjects who viewed images from the COCO dataset. We employed the Generative Image-to-text Transformer (GIT) as our backbone for captioning and propose a new image reconstruction pipeline based on latent diffusion models. The method involves training regularized linear regression models between brain activity and extracted features. Additionally, we incorporated depth maps from the ControlNet model to further guide the reconstruction process. We evaluate our methods using quantitative metrics for both generated captions and images. Our brain captioning approach outperforms existing methods, while our image reconstruction pipeline generates plausible images with improved spatial relationships. In conclusion, we demonstrate significant progress in brain decoding, showcasing the enormous potential of integrating vision and language to better understand human cognition. Our approach provides a flexible platform for future research, with potential applications in various fields, including neural art, style transfer, and portable devices.

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