Research Topic

What can simple brains teach us about how vision works

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Vision can be defined as the process of extracting behaviorally-relevant information from the patterns of visually-evoked activity that forms on the retina, as the eyes sample the outside world. Traditionally, nonhuman primates have been the animal model-of-choice for investigating the neuronal substrates of ...

Vision can be defined as the process of extracting behaviorally-relevant information from the patterns of visually-evoked activity that forms on the retina, as the eyes sample the outside world. Traditionally, nonhuman primates have been the animal model-of-choice for investigating the neuronal substrates of visual processing, not only because their visual systems closely mirror our own, but also because it is often assumed that simpler brains lack advanced visual processing machinery. However, over the past five years, the increasingly powerful array of experimental approaches that has become available in non-primate models (e.g., optogenetics and two-photon imaging) has spurred a renewed interest for the use of rodent models in vision research. This raises the more general question of how much insight can be gained into the core computations underlying visual processing from studying the simpler visual systems of non-primate species.

The goal of this RESEARCH TOPIC is to provide a survey of the state of the art on non-primate models of visual functions. We are particularly interested in studies aimed at understanding those middle- to higher-level visual functions that are more commonly studied in primates, such as (but not limited to) orientation discrimination, motion detection, depth perception, and pattern/object recognition. We welcome original research articles encompassing the full spectrum of neuroscience methodological approaches (such as behavior/psychophysics, imaging, electrophysiology, anatomy/histology, genetics), as well as theoretical/computational studies, reviews, and opinion pieces. Studies performed on any non-primate animal model (such as rodents, avian, fish, insects, etc) are welcome.


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