The Relevance of Visual Perception to Cortical Evolution and Development

  1. Gregory R. Bock and
  2. Gail Cardew
  1. Dale Purves,
  2. S. Mark Williams and
  3. R. Beau Lotto

Published Online: 29 APR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/0470846631.ch16

Evolutionary Developmental Biology of the Cerebral Cortex: Novartis Foundation Symposium 228

Evolutionary Developmental Biology of the Cerebral Cortex: Novartis Foundation Symposium 228

How to Cite

Purves, D., Williams, S. M. and Lotto, R. B. (2000) The Relevance of Visual Perception to Cortical Evolution and Development, in Evolutionary Developmental Biology of the Cerebral Cortex: Novartis Foundation Symposium 228 (eds G. R. Bock and G. Cardew), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/0470846631.ch16

Author Information

  1. Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 APR 2008
  2. Published Print: 22 MAY 2000

Book Series:

  1. Novartis Foundation Symposia

Book Series Editors:

  1. Novartis Foundation

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471979784

Online ISBN: 9780470846636

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Keywords:

  • visual perception;
  • cerebral cortex;
  • evolution;
  • development;
  • brightness;
  • contrast;
  • illusions;
  • Mach;
  • bands

Summary

The quality of brightness – perhaps the simplest visual attribute we perceive – appears to be determined probabilistically. In this empirical conception of the perception of light, the stimulus-induced activity of visual cortical neurons does not encode the retinal image or the properties of the stimulus per se, but associations (percepts) determined by the relative probabilities of the possible sources of the stimulus. If this theory is correct, the rationale for the prolonged postnatal construction of visual circuitry – and the evolution of this visual scheme – is to strengthen and/or create by activity-dependent feedback the empirically determined associations on which vision depends.