A role for the ‘magnocellular advantage’ in visual impairments in neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders Academic Article uri icon


  • Evidence exists implicating abnormal visual information processing and visually driven attention in a number of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders, suggesting that research into such disorders may benefit from a better understanding of more recent advances in visual system processing. A new integrated model of visual processing based on primate single cell and human electrophysiology may provide a framework, to understand how the visual system is involved, by implicating the magnocellular pathway's role in driving attentional mechanisms in higher-order cortical regions, what we term the 'magnocellular advantage'. Evidence is also presented demonstrating visual processing occurs considerably faster than previously assumed, and emphasising the importance of top-down feedback signals into primary visual cortex, as well as considering the possibility of lateral connections from dorsal to ventral visual areas. Such organisation is argued to be important for future research highlighting visual aspects of impairment in disorders as diverse as schizophrenia and autism.

publication date

  • January 2007