What and where in the human visual system: Two hierarchies of visual modules

Synthese 83 (1):49-91 (1990)
In this paper we focus on the modularity of visual functions in the human visual cortex, that is, the specific problems that the visual system must solve in order to achieve recognition of objects and visual space. The computational theory of early visual functions is briefly reviewed and is then used as a basis for suggesting computational constraints on the higher-level visual computations. The remainder of the paper presents neurological evidence for the existence of two visual systems in man, one specialized for spatial vision and the other for object vision. We show further clinical evidence for the computational hypothesis that these two systems consist of several visual modules, some of which can be isolated on the basis of specific visual deficts which occur after lesions to selected areas in the visually responsive brain. We will provide examples of visual modules which solve information processing tasks that are mediated by specific anatomic areas. We will show that the clinical data from behavioral studies of monkeys (Ungerleider and Mishkin 1984) supports the distinction between two visual systems in monkeys, the 'what' system, involved in object vision, and the 'where' system, involved in spatial vision
Keywords Modularity  Perception  Science  System  Visual
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DOI 10.1007/BF00413688
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