magnocellular system

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The earlier evolved of the two major visual pathways, originating in large ganglion cells in the retina, projecting to the bottom two layers of the lateral geniculate nucleus that contain neurons with large cell bodies, and thence to layer 4Cα of the primary visual cortex (Area V1). It is characterized by colour-blindness, rapidly conducting axons responsible for perception of movement, high contrast-sensitivity responsive to small differences in brightness, and low resolution. Magnocellular neurons carry information about movement and depth but not colour, whereas some parvocellular neurons carry high-resolution information about shape and others low-resolution information about colour and shades of grey. Also called the magno system. See also M cell (Y cell), MT, parasol cell. Compare parvocellular system. M system abbrev. [From Latin magnus large + cella a room, from celare to hide]

Subjects: Psychology.

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