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INTRODUCTION. The visual pathways in our brain perform a practically impossible task: they are able to identify objects in tenths of a second in spite of having to process millions of data items. Studies being conducted in basic Neuroscience are beginning to discover ‘the tricks’ that make this process possible. METHOD. These studies are based on two main pillars. First, we have an increasingly more detailed knowledge of the anatomy of the visual pathway. Second, the analyses of the receptive fields of the visual cells are becoming more and more sophisticated (each cell in the visual pathway responds to specific stimuli located within a tiny area of the space we call receptive field). Recent studies, including those conducted in my own laboratory, are beginning to reveal the pathways that give rise to different types of receptive fields and their possible function. CONCLUSION. The study of the different types of receptive fields provides us with important lessons about how images are processed. This paper offers a brief review of the current concepts that attempt to explain why such a complex task as sight gives the impression of being so simple.
ImagesReceptive fieldsSightVisual cellsVisual pathwaysNeurociencia básica