Melvyn Goodale and David Milner:
THE VISUAL BRAIN IN ACTION (Oxford University Press, 1995)


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A new paradigm for the study of human vision was introduced by the Canadian physiologist Melvyn Goodale and the British psychologist David Milner. They analyzed the visual pathways in the cerebral cortex (the "visual cortex") and realized that vision is actually a binary operation made of dual processes: on one hand is the conscious visual experience of the world, on the other hand is the visual control of unconscious (instinctive) action. They both require the eye as the organ, but they are functionally and structurally different processes. Technically speaking, the output of the visual cortex is channeled into two different pathways: the "dorsal cortical pathway" versus the "ventral pathway". The former is responsible for automatic, unconscious action, whereas the latter is responsible for conscious perception. In a sense, there exist two kinds of vision: conscious perception and unconscious action. They are physically handled by two separate systems in the brain. There isn't a visual system: there are two visual systems that work in parallel.

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