Brain and Visual Perception: The Story of a 25-Year Collaboration

Hardcover | November 18, 2004

byDavid H. Hubel, Torsten N. Wiesel

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Scientists' understanding of two central problems in neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy has been greatly influenced by the work of David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel: (1) What is it to see? This relates to the machinery that underlies visual perception. (2) How do we acquire the brain'smechanisms for vision? This is the nature-nurture question as to whether the nerve connections responsible for vision are innate or whether they develop through experience in the early life of an animal or human. This is a book about the collaboration between Hubel and Wiesel, which began in 1958,lasted until about 1982, and led to a Nobel Prize in 1981. It opens with short autobiographies of both men, describes the state of the field when they started, and tells about the beginnings of their collaboration. It emphasizes the importance of various mentors in their lives, especially StephenW. Kuffler, who opened up the field by studying the cat retina in 1950, and founded the department of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, where most of their work was done. The main part of the book consists of Hubel and Wiesel's most important publications. Each reprinted paper is preceded bya foreword that tells how they went about the research, what the difficulties and the pleasures were, and whether they felt a paper was important and why. Each is also followed by an afterword describing how the paper was received and what developments have occurred since its publication. Thereader learns things that are often absent from typical scientific publications, including whether the work was difficult, fun, personally rewarding, exhilarating, or just plain tedious. The book ends with a summing-up of the authors' view of the present state of the field. This is much more thana collection of reprinted papers. Above all it tells the story of an unusual scientific collaboration that was hugely enjoyable and served to transform an entire branch of neurobiology. It will appeal to neuroscientists, vision scientists, biologists, psychologists, physicists, historians ofscience, and to their students and trainees, at all levels from high school on, as well as anyone else who is interested in the scientific process.

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From the Publisher

Scientists' understanding of two central problems in neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy has been greatly influenced by the work of David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel: (1) What is it to see? This relates to the machinery that underlies visual perception. (2) How do we acquire the brain'smechanisms for vision? This is the nature-nur...

The authors were both awarded the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. David H. Hubel is John Franklin Enders University Professor of Neurobiology, Emeritus, at Harvard Medical School. Torsten N. Wiesel is Director of the Shelby White and Leon Levy Center for Mind, Brain and Behavior and President Emeritus of Rockefeller Univer...

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Kobo ebook|Oct 15 2011

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:744 pages, 7.01 × 10.12 × 1.69 inPublished:November 18, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195176189

ISBN - 13:9780195176186

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Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction and Biographies1. David H. Hubel2. Torsten N. WieselPart II. Background to Our Research3. Cortical Neurophysiology in the 1950's4. The Group at Johns Hopkins5. The Move from Hopkins to Harvard6. The New DepartmentPart III. Normal Physiology and Anatomy7. Our First Paper, on Cat Cortex, 19598. Recordings from Fibers in the Monkey Optic Nerve9. Recordings from Cells in the Cat Lateral Geniculate10. Our Major Paper on Cat Striate Cortex, 196211. Recordings from the Cat Prestriate Areas, 18 and 1912. Survey of the Monkey Lateral Geniculate Body--A Foray into Color13. Recording Fibers in the Cat Corpus Collosum14. Recordings in Monkey Striate Cortex, 196815. Another Visual Representation, the Cat Clare-Bishop Area16 Encoding of Binocular Depth in a Cortical Area in the Monkey. 17. Anatomy of the Geniculo-cortical Pathway: The Nauta Method18. Ocular Dominance Columns Revealed by Autoradiography19. Regular Sequences of Orientation Shifts in Monkeys20. Cortical Modules and Magnification in MonkeysPart IV. Deprivation and Development21. The First Three Kitten Deprivation Papers22. The Second Group of Deprivation Papers23. The Siamese Cat24. Cells Grouped in Orientation Columns in Newborn Monkeys25. Plasticity and Development of Monkeys Ocular Dominance ColumnsPart V. Three Reviews26. Ferrier Lecture, 197727. Nobel Lecture, David H. Hubel, 1981Nobel Lecture, Torsten N. Wiesel, 198128. Epilogue: Summing UpList of Papers IncludedGlossaryIndexToday, Forty-six Years After StartingTorsten WieselDavid Hubel

Editorial Reviews

"Beginning around 1960, David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel took the study of the brain and its development from the realm of philosophy to biology. These papers and the commentaries that accompany them put the reader inside the heads of the scientists who gave us our modern understanding of thecerebral cortex, often by asking the next logical question, but always with appreciation for the beauty of the system."--Michael P. Stryker, W.F. Ganong Professor of Physiology, University of California, San Francisco