What does “non-linear processing” mean, exactly?

What does “non-linear processing” mean, exactly?

In the following sentence from "How does the brain solve visual object recognition?" by DiCarlo et al.:

In sum, our view is that the “output” of the ventral stream is reflexively expressed in neuronal firing rates across a short interval of time (~50 ms), is an “explicit” object representation (i.e., object identity is easily decodable), and the rapid production of this representation is consistent with a largely feedforward, non-linear processing of the visual input.

I'm familiar with "feed-forward" but not with the meaning of "non-linear processing" in a neuroscience context. What does "non-linear processing" mean, exactly?

The idea of linear/non-linear in neuroscience is the same as in mathematics. A process $f(x)$ is linear if $f(alpha x) = alpha f(x)$ and $f(x+y) = f(x)+f(y)$ for all $x$, $y$, and $alpha$.

Watch the video: envelopeControl (January 2022).