Sensory Systems

Course Description

This course examines the neural bases of visual and auditory processing for perception and sensorimotor control, focusing on physiological and anatomical studies of the mammalian nervous system as well as behavioral studies of animals and humans. Visual pattern, color and depth perception, auditory responses and speech coding, and spatial localization are studied.

The first thirteen lectures are devoted to the organization of the visual system and eye-movement control. Topics covered during those lectures are: the retina, the lateral geniculate nucleus and the visual cortex, the parallel channels of the visual system, the processing of color, motion, depth and form, and the neural control of visually guided eye movements. The ten lectures that follow the midterm exam focus on audition. At the end of the semester, the last two sessions will provide an overview of the auditory and visual systems.

Copyright Information

Peter Schiller, and M. Brown. 9.04 Sensory Systems, Fall 2013. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 25 Jan, 2015). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
Sensory Systems
Illustration of the human retina and a schematic of the auditory system with a cochlear implant. (Image of human retina by MIT OpenCourseWare. Adapted from image by Prof. Peter Schiller. Human ear schematic by NIH Medical arts, courtesy of NIH.)


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Video Lectures & Study Materials

Visit the official course website for more study materials:

# Lecture Play Lecture
1 Introduction: The Visual System (1:14:49) Play Video
2 Basic layout of the visual system and the retina (1:21:52) Play Video
3 The laternal geniculate nucleus and the visual cortex (1:24:54) Play Video
4 The ON and OFF channels (1:07:38) Play Video
5 The Midget and Parasol systems (1:08:06) Play Video
6 Adaptation and Color (1:13:35) Play Video
7 Depth Perception (1:08:43) Play Video
8 Form Perception (1:12:41) Play Video
9 Illusions and visual prosthesis (1:20:13) Play Video
10 The neural control of visually guided eye movements 1 (1:12:24) Play Video
11 The neural control of visually guided eye movements 2 (1:15:57) Play Video
12 Motion perception and pursuit eye movements (1:16:49) Play Video
13 Review: The visual and oculomotor systems (1:18:37) Play Video
14 Sound: External, Middle and Inner ears (1:24:43) Play Video
15 Hair Cells (1:25:29) Play Video
16 Auditory Nerve;Ppsychophysics of frequency resolution (1:26:26) Play Video
17 Cochlear nucleus: Tonotopy, Unit types and Cell types (1:23:02) Play Video
18 Hearing loss; Demo by Sheila Xu, Cochlear implant user (1:22:22) Play Video
19 Descending systems and reflexes (1:22:02) Play Video
20 Sound Localization 1: Psychophysics and neural circuits (1:17:15) Play Video
21 Sound Localization 2: Superior olivary complex and IC (1:21:48) Play Video
22 Auditory Cortex 1: Physiology and sound localization (1:23:15) Play Video
23 Auditory Cortex 2: Language; bats and echolocation (1:25:41) Play Video


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