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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Light, Spike, and Sight: The Neuroscience of Vision

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX

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Vision may feel effortless: you open your eyes, and the world appears. But the process of focusing light into image on the back of the eye and translating it into meaningful nerve signals is incredibly complex. The retina and visual cortex are packed with intricate processing circuitry, and have been a mystery to neuroscientists for centuries. Now, answers are beginning to emerge.

Today, the visual system is often called the model system for neuroscience: its findings are relevant to all other areas and to investigating the deeper mysteries of the brain’s microstructure and function. In this course, we take you from the physics of focusing light onto the retina, to the processing of colors, form, and motion, and finally to the interpretation of visual information in the cortex. We distill the mysteries of the visual system by posing questions and investigating them in a series of thematic, animated videos. This journey through the eye, retina and brain will (quite literally) change how you see the world.

Taught by

Claire E. O'Connell and Sebastian Seung


1.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

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  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    Only tiny bits of information will be presented in videos, which are showing a philosophical touch. The video lectures are delivered only by a teaching assistant, not a professor.

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