Although Hubel and Wiesel’s research has been groundbreaking in its ability to demonstrate how single neurons can encode information, it is important to recognize the potential limitations of this approach. By reducing visual perception down to the function of a single neuron, other aspects of vision may be overlooked. These include the role that higher order cognitive processes play in interpreting and constructing meaning from visual stimuli. For example, recent studies have investigated how individual neurons respond differently when presented with objects belonging to different categories (Dasgupta et al., 2017). This suggests that neuronal responses are not just determined by basic features such as edges or orientation but also by more abstract concepts such as familiarity or relevance (Dasgupta et al., 2017). Further research has shown that higher order cognitive processes are also involved in recognizing objects within a scene and connecting them with previously stored knowledge (Kalia & Aneja, 2018). This indicates that any analysis based solely on the activity of individual neurons may miss out on these more complex phenomena which could potentially provide further insights into how vision works.
Although Hubel and Wiesel’s research has been groundbreaking in its ability
Furthermore while Hubel and Wiesel’s work emphasised the importance of response strength across multiple cells in order to identify structure within a visual image (Hubel & Wiesel, 1962), this approach fails to take into account other factors which can affect our perception such as attentional focus or contextual cues. Recent findings suggest that mental state can modulate cortical activity even at early stages of processing so focusing solely on cellular level changes may overlook these additional influences (Schmidhuber et al., 2019).
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