Extensions and Limits of the Parallel Processing Analysis
So far my thesis has concerned the visual pathways of mammals, summarizing the emergence and impact of a “parallel processing” view of their organization. In the first two sections of this final chapter, I will argue that the same idea (that a sensory system may comprise several parallel-wired subsystems) is equally valuable in another major sensory pathway, the somatosensory, and may prove of general value in sensory biology. There are of course problems as well as advantages in writing with such a specific aim, and to minimize one of those problems (that of exaggeration) I state in Section 12.3 the difficulties and limits of the parallel processing analysis, as I understand them. The analysis is not free of internal problems, nor is it a total explanation of the visual (or any other) pathway. In the final section, however, a more positive claim is argued: that, despite its weaknesses, the parallel processing analysis provides a starting point for a systematic analysis and understanding of sensory pathways that may help transcend some of the problems which limit the current ambit of sensory neurobiology.
KeywordsHair Cell Dorsal Horn Somatosensory Cortex Outer Hair Cell Dorsal Column
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