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FSK3371 Neurophysiology of Vision 5.0 credits

Neurophysiology of vision is a course for graduate students. It requires reading the course literature and giving oral presentations. The aim is to give the student a fundamenral understanding of he neurophysiological function of thee human visual system, focusing on its role in the psychophysical evaluation of vision.

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus FSK3371 (Spring 2019–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Basic anatomy of the retina, the lateral geniculate nucleus, and the striate cortex (primary visual cortex, Vl). The physiological processes of photochemistry, transduction, and visual signal processing through photoreceptors, horizontal, bipolar, and ganglion cells. Receptive field profiles and selectivity of different cells to different stimulus properties such as spatial frequency, phase, orientation, and temporal movement. Spatial and temporal contrast sensitivity and visual acuity. Spatial frequency channels. Adaption. Aftereffects.

Intended learning outcomes

The overall goal of this course is to give the student a fundamental understanding of the neurophysiological function of the human visual system, focusing on its role in psychophysical evaluation of vision.
After completing this course, the student should be able to:

  • Describe the basic anatomy and physiology of the retina, the lateral geniculate nucleus, and the striate cortex (primary visual cortex, Vl).
  • Explain how light is transduced into a neural signal. Also explain how this signal is propagated through the retinogeniculate pathway by listing the function of the different cell types.
  • Discuss the specificity of the visual system to stimulus spatial frequency and orientation in relation to receptive field profiles of ganglion and cortical cells.
  • Relate the properties of the spatial as well as the temporal contrast sensitivity functions to the physiological processes in the visual system and predict their effect on other visual functions.
  • Discuss the origin of spatial frequency channels and how they explain the usefulness of the contrast sensitivity function as well as adaption and aftereffect phenomena.

Course disposition

The students read the course literature and prepare oral presentation of chosen parts. All students and the examiner meet for the oral presentations.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

The student should have been accepted as a doctoral student.

Recommended prerequisites

Visual optics and/or Optics of the human eye, and Visual psychophysics 4.5 credits and Fourieroptics.


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R.L. De Valois and K.K. De Valois, Spatial Vision, Oxford University Press, 1990.

Other suitable literature:
Bradley C, Abrams J, Geisler WS. "Retina-Vl model of detectability across the visual field." J Vis. 2014 Oct 21;14(12).

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

P, F


  • RED1 - Presentation, 5.0 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

RED1 - Oral presentation,  5 hp

Other requirements for final grade

Oral presentation of the course literature.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Profile picture Linda Lundström

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

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Offered by

SCI/Applied Physics

Main field of study

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Education cycle

Third cycle

Add-on studies

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Linda Lundström,

Postgraduate course

Postgraduate courses at SCI/Applied Physics