Micro-calibration of space and motion by photoreceptors synchronized in parallel with cortical oscillations: A unified theory of visual perception

Ravinder Jerath, Shannon M. Cearley, Vernon A. Barnes, Mike Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A fundamental function of the visual system is detecting motion, yet visual perception is poorly understood. Current research has determined that the retina and ganglion cells elicit responses for motion detection; however, the underlying mechanism for this is incompletely understood. Previously we proposed that retinogeniculo-cortical oscillations and photoreceptors work in parallel to process vision. Here we propose that motion could also be processed within the retina, and not in the brain as current theory suggests. In this paper, we discuss: 1) internal neural space formation; 2) primary, secondary, and tertiary roles of vision; 3) gamma as the secondary role; and 4) synchronization and coherence. Movement within the external field is instantly detected by primary processing within the space formed by the retina, providing a unified view of the world from an internal point of view. Our new theory begins to answer questions about: 1) perception of space, erect images, and motion, 2) purpose of lateral inhibition, 3) speed of visual perception, and 4) how peripheral color vision occurs without a large population of cones located peripherally in the retina. We explain that strong oscillatory activity influences on brain activity and is necessary for: 1) visual processing, and 2) formation of the internal visuospatial area necessary for visual consciousness, which could allow rods to receive precise visual and visuospatial information, while retinal waves could link the lateral geniculate body with the cortex to form a neural space formed by membrane potential-based oscillations and photoreceptors. We propose that vision is tripartite, with three components that allow a person to make sense of the world, terming them “primary, secondary, and tertiary roles” of vision. Finally, we propose that Gamma waves that are higher in strength and volume allow communication among the retina, thalamus, and various areas of the cortex, and synchronization brings cortical faculties to the retina, while the thalamus is the link that couples the retina to the rest of the brain through activity by gamma oscillations. This novel theory lays groundwork for further research by providing a theoretical understanding that expands upon the functions of the retina, photoreceptors, and retinal plexus to include parallel processing needed to form the internal visual space that we perceive as the external world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-75
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Hypotheses
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Gamma oscillations
  • Lateral inhibition
  • Photoreceptors
  • Retina
  • Retinogeniculo-cortical oscillations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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