This Theory defines six distinct stages in the visual process,
0. Genesis and metabolic support
1. Signal Generation
2. Signal Manipulation (in the retina)
3. Signal Projection
4. Signal Manipulation and Perception (in the cortex)
5. Oculomotor feedback servomechanisms
The unusual sequence is designed to maintain continuity with previous work in
the literature where a zone 1 has been associated with photodetection and a
zone 2 has been associated with signal computation. It is desirable to
build on such earlier notation to avoid unnecessary confusion.
Stage 0 (zero) has been added because of its critical role in the operation
of the visual system and the understanding of its transient and failure modes.
Stages 3 and 4 are expansions of the previous zone 2 required to interpret a
variety of asymmetrical features of the system.
Stage 5 is necessary to incorporate the servomechanisms that are critical to
the operation of the visual system of higher chordates. This stage involves
servo-loops that incorporate elements of the previous stages. From that
perspective, stage 5 is an overlay incorporating parts of the previous stages.
The closed loop servomechanism that is created is absolutely critical to
the understanding of the overall visual system. It is stage 5 that that
generates the signal known as tremor. This tremor converts the basic
visual system from a change detector (as in many lower animals)
to an imager (as found in man and many higher animals). Stage 5 also introduces
several critical signals into the overall system related to the vestibularly
The Theory introduces a number of concepts that are well developed in other
scientific disciplines but have not previously been recognized in the field
of vision. The result is a completely new theoretical foundation of the
process of vision. The Theory shows that the neural process is completely
electrolytic in character and highly dependent on the properties of liquid
crystalline materials. It also defines the actual structure of the
photosensitive material of the retina for the first time and compares the
actual theoretical spectral properties of the four chromatic absorbers of vision
with data from direct measurement. It
also develops the detailed signaling properties of the neuron and shows the
specific role of the glutamates is that of an electrostenolytic power source
unrelated to the signaling function.
Based on these new concepts, the Theory is illustrated via a series of
comprehensive block, schematic and circuit diagrams. Two parallel signal
paths that extend from the cornea of the eye to the perceptual region of the
cortex are diagramed in detail. In a specific case, the complete signal
path is diagramed, down to the specific circuit level. This path is along the afferent
neural path from the cornea to the midbrain and then back to the
oculomotor muscles of the eye along the efferent neural path. It is shown that
this path (mentioned above) constitutes a complete loop of a servomechanism system.
and models together provide details of the operation of the visual system of
animals not discussed elsewhere in the literature. The presentation of the Theory is grouped into five parts:
and a set of APPENDICES. These appendices contain
technical vignettes (such as on color constancy),
longer studies (such as the visual architecture of Limulus), and a
series of suggested thesis topics for upper level students.
A Synopsis of the overall work is also available.
The Synopsis, by its nature, is not able to defend the positions taken. This is
done exhaustively in the main text.
A Preface is also provided. It attempts to codify
some of the conceptual and philosophical considerations leading to this work.
A new expanded tabulation of the Characteristics
of the Standardized Human Eye and the Characteristics
of the Fundamental Neuron are also presented. Finally,
a new set of graphs describing the overall performance
of the Human Eye are also presented.
Where possible, terminology consistent with earlier investigators is
preserved. However, in many cases, previously held concepts and hypotheses
are discarded in favor of new more precise concepts. In other cases, the
old concepts are shown to be more limited in their applicability than
previously suggested. A large GLOSSARY is provided summarizing the
terminology used in this work and the field of vision.
Numbers in square brackets appearing on this site are references to the
paragraphs of the book, "Processes in Animal Vision". As individual
Chapters of the book "PROCESSES IN BIOLOGICAL VISION" become editorially
acceptable, they are made available here as Portable
Document Files (.pdf)
Most other theories of vision, including many of the less comprehensive
ones, are reviewed in Chapter 19 of the above material. To minimize controversy,
This Chapter is available from the Author upon request.
Preparation of this work by a small group has become a massive undertaking.
The author would appreciate any editorial comments, questions or
clarifications from interested readers prior to the formal publication of
the book. Such comments can be provided using the attached FORM.
The entire work is copyrighted and includes trademarked terms. For
permission to reproduce parts of this work, and other information, please see the