Studyingthe physiology of sensory system is integral in gaining anunderstanding on how various types of environmental stimuli triggerdistinct responses by neurons within the brain, and how the neuronsare spatially organized. Regarding vision, for example, the neuronstypically connect the visual organ (eye) to the visual cortex(occipital lobe) of the brain, which processes or interprets theinput signals from the sensory organ. Therefore, the aim of the paperis to summarize the concept of spatial organization, its role invisual perception, and how perception influences behavior.
Conceptof Spatial Organization
Bydefinition, spatial organization refers to the manner in whichdistinct nervous actions represent stimuli at particularenvironmental positions. In other words, spatial organization is theenvironment as represented by the brain when the stimuli areimprinted on the retina of the eye (Goldstein, 2014). Mainly, severalvisual processing sections of the brain are structuredretinotopically, and that is indicative of the fact that particularareas on the retina of the eye relate with the distinct parts of thecortex in visual regions, which start from the occipital lobe at theback of the head (Gregory,2015).Nevertheless, when one looks at an object in the environment, anorganization occurs across the visual field, with images positioningto the left and right, high and low. The visual space’sorganization is then relayed to the eye, where an image isestablished on the retina. Simply put, the spatial organization ofthe regions of the brain is a product of the brain’sthree-dimensional physicality, with the distinct tuned receptorcells’ organization dependent on the extent of brain development(Goldstein, 2014). The spatial organization of the tuned detectorcells in the brain’s sensory cortical regions correspond to thesensory cells’ spatial organization at the sense organs. The braincells which are specialized in visual processing, which lie withinthe occipital lobe, match the distribution of light-sensitive cellslocated on the retina, constituting what is known as the retinotopicmap (Gregory,2015).
Withrespect to tactile sensation, the skin’s touch-sensitive cellscorrespond to the cerebral cortex somatosensory cells (found in theparietal lobe) concerning organization. Regarding hearing, thecochlea has frequency-sensitive neurons distributed based on thefrequency by which they are tuned (Goldstein, 2014). A cochleotopiccells’ spread in the brain’s auditory cortex (in the temporallobe) reflects the frequency mapping onto space, that is, theauditory cortex tonotopic distribution. Therefore, the spatialorganization of sensory neurons in the brain (cortex) mirrors thespatial organization of the sense organs’ receptors which are inproximity with the environmental stimuli. In summary, the detectionof sensory input features like sound, smell, light, and touch occurswhen cells are tuned to fire at specific values along physicalcontinua (Gregory, 2015).
SpatialOrganization in Visual Perception
Visionis critical in the provision of information concerning distantobjects to help organisms with light sensitive cells in evaluatingthe intrinsic features of objects such as texture, color, and size,and the extrinsic qualities like velocity and position without havingto be in direct contact with the objects. The leading processes invisual perception include the reflection of light, focusing,transduction, and processing, thus, resulting in recognitionbehavior, which is then concluded by the behavioral change of action(Goldstein, 2014). Hence, reflection occurs when light from anenvironmental stimulus bounces off and reaches the eye of anobserver. Once in the eye, the light undergoes a transformation inwhich the optic system of the eye, including the cornea and lens,focuses the light, resulting in the formation of a sharp image on theretina, which brings about the concept of representation of object inthe form of an image. After representation, another transformationprocess known as transduction occurs, whereby the visual receptors(rods and cones) at the back of the eye transform the light energyfrom the object to electrical energy, and the result is an electricalrepresentation of the object (Goldstein, 2014). Besides, thereceptors help in the creation of the visual pigments, and togetherwith electrical energy, assist in the shaping of perception. Thegenerated electrical signals are then transmitted via neurons of theretina, back of the eye, and in the brain. During transmission, theneuronal processing of the signals or electrical impulses because thepathway is characterized by signals traveling in opposite directions,amplification, reduction, and prevention of impulses from transit.Finally, the processed signals reach the visual cortex of the brain(occipital lobe of the cerebral cortex), marking the onset of thebehavioral responses (Goldstein, 2014).
Influenceof Perception on Behavior
Behavioralresponse marks the final stage of visual perception in which anindividual can perceive and recognize the object concerning color,texture, position, or velocity. Perception is regarded as theconscious awareness of an object, while recognition is the capabilityto accurately classify an object as a vehicle, building, or lakefollowing its perception. After recognition, the final behavior thataccrues is action through motor activities. For instance, a personmay decide to cross the road after recognizing an approaching vehicleand estimating its velocity. Alternatively, one can select the mostappealing fruit to purchase from a vendor, or the most stylishshoe-wear in the store. Therefore, action is an important behavioralaspect of the perceptual process that is incisive to the survival ofhumans (Goldstein, 2014).
Fromthe above considerations, it is patent summarized that neurons areintegral in translating spatial organization into the brain. Eachneuron has a unique stimulus input which it relays to a defined braincenter corresponding to the sensory organ in action. With the signalstransmitted to the brain, one can not only perceive and recognize anobject or stimulus but can also act accordingly.
Goldstein,E. B. (2014). Sensationand perception (9thed.).Boston, U.S.: Cengage Learning.
Gregory,R. L. (2015). Eyeand brain: The psychology of seeing.New Jersey, U.S.: Princeton university press.