2Neurobiology or the Arbitrator of Consciousness

Perception is a subjective act. It cannot be wholly communicated in speech or writing: it requires the experience of the gaze and shared reward.

Jean-Pierre CHANGEUX (2008)

There are multiple studies that have allowed us to understand the mechanisms of human vision. Clinical studies carried out on injured patients during surgeries, often complemented by postmortem anatomical studies, paved the way, making it possible to localize the regions involved in certain stages of perception, analysis or the interpretation of visual signals1. Then there are electrophysiological studies on humans (electroretinography, electro-oculometry, event-related potential), and especially those carried out using more invasive techniques on birds, cats and monkeys, which have made it possible to verify in vivo the validity of models on the functioning of the optic pathways and the primary regions related to vision. These pathways are represented in Figure 2.1.

However, it was not until the emergence of techniques such as electro-encephalography (EEG), magneto-encephalography (MEG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron-emission tomography (PET) that researchers could access the functioning of superior regions associated with vision in (almost) real time.

Schematic illustration of a) Diagram of the optic pathways that go from the eyes to the visual regions, passing through the optic chiasm, and then the lateral geniculate nucleus. (b) The visual areas. Certain regions have well-identified functions.

Figure 2.1 (a) Diagram of the optic pathways that go from the eyes to the visual regions, ...

Get Aesthetics in Digital Photography now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.