Visual Information Processing: The Many-Splendored Photoreceptor

  • Peter Hillman
  • Menachem Hanani
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 15)


One of the most striking aspects of the visual sense of animals is its ability to encompass an intensity range of a thousand million or more and yet maintain a very high sensitivity to small temporal or spatial variations about the mean intensity to which the animal is exposed at any time. Part of this task of adaptation to light and dark is performed by mechanical control of the light intensity incident on the retina, through pupil contraction and screening pigment migration. In higher animals, adaptation is aided by the specialization of photoreceptor cells to different parts of the intensity range: rods for weak light and cones for strong. A third component, at least in higher animals, is maintained by processing beyond the photoreceptor, mainly in the retina: absorption of photons in only 1% of the rods for example, can reduce the overall sensitivity of the system by a factor of three (Rushton, 1965).


Conditioning Stimulus Visual Information Processing Conditioning Intensity Light Intensity Incident Test Flash 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    BROWN, J.E. & LISMAN, J.E. Fed. Proc.33:434, 1974.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    DE VOE, R.D. Gen. Physiol.59:247, 1972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    HAGINS, W.A. Ann. Rev. Biophys. Bioeng.1:131, 1972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    HILLMAN, P., DODGE, F.A., HOCHSTEIN, S., KNIGHT, B.W. & MINKE, B.J.J.Gen. Physiol.62:77, 1973.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    HILLMAN, P., HOCHSTEIN, S. & MINKE, B. 1974. Submitted.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    HOCHSTEIN, S., MINKE, B. & HILLMAN, P. J. Gen. Physiol.62:102, 1973.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    KOIKE, H., BROWN, H.M. & HAGIWARA, S. J. Gen. Physiol.57:723, 1971.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    MILLECCHIA, R. & MAURO, A. J. Gen. Physiol.54:310, 1969.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    RUCK, P. & JAHN, T.L. J. Gen. Physiol.37:825, 1954.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    RUSHTON, W.A.H.J.Physiol. (London)178:141, 1965.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    SHAW, S.R. J.Physiol. (London)220:145, 1972.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    STRATTEN, W.P. & OGDEN, T.E. J. Gen.Physiol.57:435, 1971.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    SZUTS, E. & CONE, R.A. Quoted by Cone, Exp. Eye Res.17:507, 1973.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 16.
    YOSHIKAMI, S. & HAGINS, W.A. Biochemistry and Physiology of the Visual Pigments. H. Langer (ed.), Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, 1973.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Hillman
    • 1
  • Menachem Hanani
    • 1
  1. 1.The Institute of Life SciencesThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations