On the Emergence of Primary Visual Perception

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We propose a concise novel conceptual and biological framework for the analysis of primary visual perception (PVP) that refers to the most basic levels of our awake subjective visual experiences. Neural representations for image content elaborated within V1/V2 and the early occipitotemporal (ventral) loop remain only latent with respect to PVP until spatially localized with respect to an attending observer. This process requires more than the downstream deployment of attentional resources onto targeted neurons. Additionally, the source neurons for such processes must be linked to a neural representation subserving a first-person perspective. We hypothesize that the simultaneous emergence of both the perceptual experience of image content and the personal inference of its ownership requires the resolution of any conflicting neuronal signaling between afferent and recurrent projections within and between both the ventral and dorsal streams. The V1/V2 complex and ventral cortical areas V3 and the V4 complex together with dorsal cortical areas LIP, VIP, and 7a with additional contributions from the motion areas V5/MT (middle temporal area), FST (fundus of superior temporal area), and MST (medial superior temporal area) together with their subcortical dependencies have the physiological properties required to constitute a “posterior perceptual core” that encodes the normal primary perceptual experience of image content, space, and sense of minimal self.

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