In this paper, we analyze the activity of single fibers in the optic nerve of a frog. Our method is to find what sort of stimulus causes the largest activity in one nerve fiber and then what is the exciting aspect of that stimulus such that variations in everything else cause little change in the response. It has been known for the past 20 years that each fiber is connected not to a few rods and cones in the retina but to very many over a fair area. Our results show that for the most part within that area, it is not the light intensity itself but rather the pattern of local variation of intensity that is the exciting factor. There are four types of fibers, each type concerned with a different sort of pattern. Each type is uniformly distributed over the whole retina of the frog. Thus, there are four distinct parallel distributed channels whereby the frog’s eye informs his brain about the visual image in terms of local pattern independent of average illumination. We describe the patterns and show the functional and anatomical separation of the channels. This work has been done on the frog, and our interpretation applies only to the frog.
Introduction We of the Neurophysiology Group of the Research Laboratory of Electronics, M.I.T., are, and have been, interested primarily in constructing models of the working of the nervous system, not models of the way it came to be what it is at the moment. In this paper we wish to survey what we have accomplished […]
Introduction Once upon a time the whole event, rolled in one for us, our universe, began. Small atoms formed and in their coalescence made the stars, fusing their atoms to make larger ones and radi-ating energy. There is a mainline of their evolution, a way of becoming that makes for their longevity. From this our […]
Introduction [With the] new theory and practice of battle . . . it was no longer killing in the service of the ancestors, but rather the organization of control of men in the service of the territorial prince that gave meaning to warfare.1 — Mark Lewis, Sanctioned Violence in Early China From about 3000 to […]
Introduction The mind’s deepest desire, even in its most elaborate operations, parallels man’s unconscious feeling in the face of his universe… — Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus Walk through the Gallery of the Academy in Florence, and you can almost see an old world story dying as a new one emerges. Paintings through the […]
Introduction One of the most surprising ideas our work for this book leads to is the power of a society’s world story to shape its own history. How could a story such as Homer’s Iliad help lead a society into events as important as the poleis‘ victory over the Persian Empire or the Peloponnesian War? […]
Redefining otherness for the 21st century Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future. — Often attributed to Niels Bohr And so, we come, at last, to the question we began with: What can people in the first quarter of the 21st century learn from comparing the Axial Age and Modernity? Perhaps most significant, societies […]