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Trends Neurosci. 2000 Nov;23(11):571-9.

The distinct modes of vision offered by feedforward and recurrent processing.

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The Graduate School of Neurosciences, Dept Visual System Analysis, AMC, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 12011, 1100 AA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


An analysis of response latencies shows that when an image is presented to the visual system, neuronal activity is rapidly routed to a large number of visual areas. However, the activity of cortical neurons is not determined by this feedforward sweep alone. Horizontal connections within areas, and higher areas providing feedback, result in dynamic changes in tuning. The differences between feedforward and recurrent processing could prove pivotal in understanding the distinctions between attentive and pre-attentive vision as well as between conscious and unconscious vision. The feedforward sweep rapidly groups feature constellations that are hardwired in the visual brain, yet is probably incapable of yielding visual awareness; in many cases, recurrent processing is necessary before the features of an object are attentively grouped and the stimulus can enter consciousness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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