How the retina works

Scott Seidman namdiesttocs at
Thu Jul 1 16:57:58 EST 2004

r norman <rsn_ at> wrote in
news:dfl8e09qe7p24gnd7eh4lanhb8cmbrpqp6 at 

> On Thu, 1 Jul 2004 19:06:46 +0100, "Wil Hadden" <ask at> wrote:
>>"Kalman Rubinson" <kr4 at> wrote in message
>>news:jfj8e05nb2o8op2dchcfu1063ttjdmcjlr at
>>> I suggest a decent med school textbook like Kandel and Schwartz. It
>>> may help you beyond a simplistic understanding.
>>> Kal
>>I probably should get a book like that.
>>What I'm trying to do is make a simulation of essentially the essence
>>of how the various layers work, and then to later build on the output
>>of that work. 
>>I'm currently at the stage of researching whether my plans make ant
>>sense! Basically I don't want to be spiralling off doing research on
>>retinas at least until I know there's merit in building a simplistic
>>model. To that end I currently need an overview of the various layers.
> In that case, what you need is far more than the introductory type
> things I outlined in another response.
> If you want your model to be anything other than simplistic, you need
> to understand what real neurons do, as opposed to "cartoon" neurons
> used in most "neural" models.  These are quite fine for research in
> information processing, even for research in visual information or
> image processing.  They are not at all suitable for research in how
> the eye actually works.
> You need to understand the details of signal conduction down branching
> dendrites, about transmitter release by graded signals, about synaptic
> plasticity.  You need to understand the details of microcircuit
> anatomy of the retina.  You need to understand the details of
> neurophysiology of the retina derived from electrophysiological
> studies.
> In short, you need to go through some hefty neuroscience text as just
> a start and then work your way into the primary literature.  I
> strongly recommend
>   Kandel, Schwartz, and Jessel,
>   Principles of Neural Science
>   McGraw-Hill, 2000
>   Squire et al.
>   Fundamental Neuroscience, 2nd ed
>   Academic Press 2002
>   Shepherd
>   Synaptic Organization of the Brain, 5th Ed
>   Oxford U. Press, 2003
> You also must read
>   Koch
>   Biophysics of Computation: Information Processing in Single Neurons
>   Oxford U Press, 1999

FWIW, I'm not sure you need to go into each layer, so much as the 
effective output of the ganglion cells and center-surround antagonism.  
It depends on why you want to model the retina in the first place.

 Even more pertinent to your work might be Marr, "Vision", Freeman, 1982.  
In all your searches, add the phrase "lateral inhibition"-- its my 
favorite network architecture.  It retina, it serves as a spatial 
differentiator, but in brainstem and spinal cord is serves a temporal 
integrator.  Lateral inhibition-- is there anything it can't do?


More information about the Neur-sci mailing list