Achievement of human-level image recognition by deep neural networks (DNNs) has spurred interest in whether and how DNNs are brain-like. Both DNNs and the visual cortex perform hierarchical processing, and correspondence has been shown between hierarchical visual areas and DNN layers in representing visual features. Here, we propose the brain hierarchy (BH) score as a metric to quantify the degree of hierarchical correspondence based on the decoding of individual DNN unit activations from human brain activity. We find that BH scores for 29 pre-trained DNNs with varying architectures are negatively correlated with image recognition performance, indicating that recently developed high-performance DNNs are not necessarily brain-like. Experimental manipulations of DNN models suggest that relatively simple feedforward architecture with broad spatial integration is critical to brain-like hierarchy. Our method provides new ways for designing DNNs and understanding the brain in consideration of their representational homology.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience