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parvocellular system


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The more recently evolved of the two major visual pathways, originating in small ganglion cells in the retina, projecting to the uppermost four layers of the lateral geniculate nucleus that contain neurons with small cell bodies, and terminating in layer 4Cβ of the primary visual cortex (Area V1). It is characterized by colour-sensitivity, slowly conducting axons, low contrast sensitivity, and high resolution of fine detail. Parvocellular neurons that project on to interblobs between the blobs in layers 1 and 2 of the primary visual cortex carry high-resolution information about shape, and parvocellular neurons that project on to blobs carry lower-resolution information about colour and shades of grey but not about shape, movement, or depth, whereas magnocellular neurons carry information about movement and depth but not colour. Also called the parvo system. See also midget cell, P cell (X cell), W cell. Compare magnocellular system. P system abbrev. [From Latin parvus small + cella a room, from celare to hide]

Subjects: Psychology.


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