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Visual Systems: What does it do?

Some have stated that the eyes are the key to the soul. However, the eyes hold much more power within the brain. Certain mental illness have associated symptoms of visual disruptions, such as hallucinations. Health issues, such as dementia, Parkinsons, and schizophrenia include hallucinations. To truly understand the illness, we must understand the symptoms. Here we will discuss what the visual system is and how it can impact other health issues.

The visual system is a member of the central nervous system that is incorporated in the sensory information that is processed in the brain. This system gives organisms the ability to process visual detail and enabling the formation of several non-image photo response functions. Additionally, the visual system perceives and infers information from visible light to build a representation of the surrounding environment. The visual system is responsible for receiving and acting upon, visual information which is seen from one eye but processed on the opposing hemisphere of the brain. For example, the primary sensory area of the left side of the brain learns what the right hand is holding, the left visual system learns what is happening toward the person’s right. (Carlson, 2014). This situation would be the same if the right side of the brain learned what the left hand is holding so the right visual system learns what is happening towards the persons left.

The visual system plays a paramount role in information processing, fight or flight behavior, perception and daily movements or actions. The brain must know and understand what is going on before reacting to the situation. This is where the visual system aids in information processing. Within the brain, the information is received by the visual system from the eye and is eventually reaches the brain. Additionally, the foundations of clinical psychology are focused on behavior and understanding the why’s of human behavior. Through decades of animal testing and research studies, researchers have tried to grasp a further understanding of human behavior. Following the study of Cohen et al., (2015) continued research should be aimed toward the understanding of the visual system. The behavior, actions, movements, facial recognition, and color blindness all correlate back to the visual system functions. With a more concrete understanding of the visual system, research may be able to grasp new innovative ways to aid society.


Carlson, N. R. (2014). Foundations of behavioral neuroscience (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. ISBN: 9780205940240.

Cohen, M. A., Nakayama, K., Konkle, T., Stantić, M., & Alvarezc, G. A. (2015). Visual awareness is limited by the representational architecture of the visual system. Journal Of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27(11), 2240-2252. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00855

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