Ventral Visual Pathway
Ventral stream; “What system”
The ventral visual pathway is a functional stream involved in the visual recognition of objects. The anatomical substrates to the ventral visual pathway were initially identified in macaque monkeys by Mishkin and Ungerleider (1982). They observed that visual input from primary visual cortex is projected to the inferior temporal cortex (areas TEO and TE) via prestriate cortex (Mishkin et al. 1982; Mishkin et al. 1983). An analogous pathway is present in the human brain. This pathway consists of visual input from primary visual cortex V1 relayed through areas V2 and V4, and ultimately projected into the inferior temporal cortex. While areas V1, V2, and V4 are involved in the processing of basic-level visual features such as edges, contours, and color, the inferior temporal cortex is suggested to process complex shapes (Ungerleider and Haxby 1994).
Since the 1960s, researchers had suggested that the visual system could be divided...
References and Readings
- Farah, M. J. (1990). Visual agnosia: Disorders of object recognition and what they tell us about normal vision. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Grill-Spector, K. (2004). The functional organization of the ventral visual pathway and its relationship to object recognition. In N. Kanwisher & J. Duncan (Eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Malach, R., Reppas, J. B., Benson, R. R., Kwong, K. K., Jiang, H., Kennedy, W. A., et al. (1995). Object-related activity revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging in human occipital cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 92(18), 8135–8139.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar