Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 63–76

A quantitative model of the functional architecture of human striate cortex with application to visual illusion and cortical texture analysis

  • Eric L. Schwartz


Anatomical and physiological data from lower primates, and psychophysical data from humans, is used to construct a quantitative model of the local and global map structure (functional architecture) of human striate cortex. A series of successful estimates deriving from this model are reviewed, including a prediction for the width of human ocular dominance columns, which has recently been verified. A variety of perceptual phenomena are then discussed, from the point of view of cortical, rather than retinal, topography. It is suggested that the striate cortex may be viewed as a “cyclopean retina” whose non-linear map structure, summarized in terms of a concatenated complex logarithmic pattern, suggests insights into the nature of the Mackay complimentary image, the Frazer spiral, fortification illusions, and the relationship of the second order statistics of a visual stimulus to pre-attentive (textural) segmentation. Finally, the nature of neuronal representation is considered in the context of recent models of perceptual and cognitive function. It is suggested that anatomical re-mapping at successive stages of the CNS may provide a conceptual alternative to conventional single cell and connectionist models, and offers a viable approach towards a “field” theory of vision.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric L. Schwartz
    • 1
  1. 1.Brain Research Laboratory, Department of PsychiatryNew York University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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