Parallel processing strategies of the primate visual system

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2009 May;10(5):360-72. doi: 10.1038/nrn2619. Epub 2009 Apr 8.


Incoming sensory information is sent to the brain along modality-specific channels corresponding to the five senses. Each of these channels further parses the incoming signals into parallel streams to provide a compact, efficient input to the brain. Ultimately, these parallel input signals must be elaborated on and integrated in the cortex to provide a unified and coherent percept. Recent studies in the primate visual cortex have greatly contributed to our understanding of how this goal is accomplished. Multiple strategies including retinal tiling, hierarchical and parallel processing and modularity, defined spatially and by cell type-specific connectivity, are used by the visual system to recover the intricate detail of our visual surroundings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Primates / anatomy & histology
  • Primates / physiology*
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / classification
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*