Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Dorsal Visual Pathway

  • Giulia RighiEmail author
  • Jean Vettel
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1358


Dorsal stream; “Where system”


The dorsal visual pathway is a functional stream originating in primary visual cortex and terminating in the superior parietal lobule that is responsible for the localization of objects in space and for action-oriented behaviors that depend on the perception of space.

Historical Background

Starting from the 1960s, scientists had intuitions that the visual system could be divided into two separate components, one responsible for recognition and the other for spatial localization (Held 1968; Schneider 1969). Mishkin and Ungerleider (1982) provided the first empirical evidence for this intuition, by showing that monkeys with inferior temporal cortex lesions had problems recognizing objects by their shape (what), while monkeys with parietal lobe lesions had problems in processing the location of objects in space (where). These findings provided evidence for anatomically and functionally distinct visual pathways: a “what” or “ventral”...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Visual Neuroscience LaboratoryBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.US Army Research LaboratoryNational Academy of the SciencesWashington, DCUSA