NEUR3045/NEURG045 Visual Neuroscience

An interdisciplinary course on the Anatomy, Physiology and Psychophysics of Vision

This course will teach visual neuroscience from a broad, interdisciplinary point of view. Our modern understanding of vision and visual processing depends not only on the more traditional fields of anatomy, physiology and psychophysics, which remain centrally important, but also on the fields of genetics, molecular and cellular biology, ophthalmology, neurology, cognitive neuroscience and brain imaging.  In this course, we will present visual neuroscience as a multidisciplinary, yet integrated field of study.

Aims: The aim is to provide students with an understanding of the functional anatomy and neurophysiology of the visual system, and an understanding of how neural activity results in visual perception and in behaviours that depend on vision. Students will be introduced to a variety of methods for investigating visual neuroscience including molecular biology, psychophysics, single cell recording, electrophysiology, brain imaging, and the experimental study of patients with brain damage or genetic defects.

Summary of Course Content: The course presents a multidisciplinary approach to vision. It will cover anatomical, physiological, genetic, molecular and psychological approaches. The course covers the fundamentals of visual neuroscience from the visual input at the retina to visual perception.

Course Organiser

Andrew Stockman
Institute of Ophthalmology

11-43 Bath Street

London EC1V 9EL




Course Web site

Course lecturers

Dr. Tessa Dekker (Ophthalmology), email:

Dr. John Greenwood (Psychology), e-mail:

Dr. Peter Jones (Ophthalmology), email:

Dr. Andrew Rider (Opthalmology), e-mail:

Dr. Stewart Shipp (Ophthalmology), e-mail:

Prof. Andrew Stockman (Ophthalmology), e-mail:

Dr. Antony Vugler (Ophthalmology), e-mail:


Visual Neuroscience 2017-2018 Timetable

BLOCK G: 2-6 pm Tuesday. Medawar Building G02 Watson LT

Week 20
Tuesday 9th Jan 2-3 1. Course introduction. (AS).
Tuesday 9th Jan 3-4 2. Physiological optics and the photoreceptor mosaic. (AS).
Tuesday 9th Jan 4-5 3. Fundamentals of psychophysics. (JG).
Week 21  
Tuesday 16th Jan 2-3 4. Photoreceptors and phototransduction. (AS)
Tuesday 16th Jan 3-4

5. Introduction to the retina. (AV).

Tuesday 16th Jan 4-5 6. Advanced retina. (AV)
Tuesday 16th Jan 5-6 Tutorial: Neuroscience (TD/AV)
Week 22  
Tuesday 23rd Jan 2-3 7. Visual psychophysics and sensitivity regulation. (AR).
Tuesday 23rd Jan 3-4 8. Achromatic & chromatic vision. (AS).
Tuesday 23rd Jan 4-5 Tutorial: Psychophysics. (AS/AR/JG).
Week 23  
Tuesday 30th Jan 2-3 9. Spatial vision. (JG).
Tuesday 30th Jan 3-5 Demo. Colour vision demonstrations (SS).
Week 24  
Tuesday  6th Feb 2-3 10. Motion. (AR).
Tuesday 6th Feb 3-4 11. Central visual pathways (SS)
Tuesday 6th Feb 4-5 12. Multiple visual areas of cortex. (SS).
Week 25 
Week 26  
Tuesday 20th Feb 2-3 13. Hierarchical visual processing. (SS).
Tuesday 20th Feb 3-4 14. Depth perception/Visual Illusions. (AS).
Tuesday  20th Feb 4-5 15. The neural correlate of consciousness. (SS).
Week 27  
Tuesday  27th Feb 2-3 16. fMRI and visual brain function. (TD)
Tuesday  27th Feb 3-6 Seminar 1. (NEUR3045). Seminars: session 1.
Week 28  
Tuesday 6th Mar 2-3 17. Atypical vision and visual plasticity (TD)
Tuesday 6th Mar 3-6 Seminar 2. (NEUR3045). Seminars: session 2.
Week 29  
Tuesday 13th Mar 2-3 18. Visual development in babies and infants. (PJ)
Tuesday 13th Mar 3-6 Seminar 3. (NEUR3045). Seminars: session 3.
Week 30  
Tuesday  20th Mar 2-3 19. Revision class
Tuesday  20th Mar 3-6 Seminar 4. (NEUR3045). Seminars: session 4.


Recommended text books for the course

Sensation and Perception by Jeremy M. Wolfe

Sensation and Perception by E. Bruce Goldstein

The First Steps in Seeing by R.W Rodieck

Visual Perception: Physiology, Psychology and Biology by Vicki Bruce, Patrick Green and Mark Georgeson

Recommended reference sources for the course

The Visual Neurosciences by Leo Chalupa and John Werner

Webvision at

Neuroscience: a Historical Introduction by Mitchell Glickstein
Neuroscience Mitch

Student seminars

Depending on student numbers, the seminars for NEUR 3045 will run in four up to 3-hour sessions (see timetables).

Visual Neuroscience NEUR3045/G045/M045 Seminar topics

The seminar schedule has been posted on Moodle.

General advice

The seminar should last 10 minutes. Marks may be deducted if your talk is shorter than 9 minutes or longer than 11 minutes in length.
Your main aim, in giving the talk, is to demonstrate that you understand what you are talking about. This means that you should try to make sure that what you say is fully comprehensible to your fellow students as well as the examiner, rather than relying on their previous knowledge of the underlying principles (or jargon).
Ideally, the talk should have a brief Introduction, and a conclusion (or provide an answer if the talk title takes the form of a question).
Some coverage of relevant material outside of the lectures is encouraged.
Make sure you can explain the content of complex diagrams, charts or experiments that you replicate from publications or textbooks.  
Make sure you reference your sources for diagrams, graphs and data in the slides with a brief acknowledgement.
How many slides you should have in the talk will depend on the detail in each slide, but try to avoid having too many slides with dense detailed information.
Make sure you rehearse to make sure your timing is right.
You will be marked primarily for:

  1. Talk content (scope & depth of sources examined);
  2. Presentation (quality of slides and organization of talk);
  3. Clarity of exposition.
Discretionary marks will be awarded for good verbal presentation skills, and originality of talk content, or originality in graphical presentation.

Please e-mail if there are any problems!

Graduate student journal club


Details later.

Past exam questions

Can be found here. Note that the exam syllabus changed in 2012 when the Advanced Visual Neuroscience course (NEUR3001) began and again when NEUR3001 ended in 2017. The earlier pre-2012 exam papers are from the Eye and Brain or Neurobiology of Vision courses, the syllabuses of which were slightly broader than the present course. In 2017, this course was slightly broadened again to include lectures on fMRI and visual development. In 2018, the lectures changed slightly to reflect the death of Professor Glickstein in 2017. He and his lectures will be sorely missed, but you can find copies of his past lectures and notes next.

The invigilated graduate essay titles can be found here.

Lectures, lecture notes and references

Scroll up if the page looks blank!

Initially these are from the previous year and will be updated as the course progresses.

Tessa Dekker

John Greenwood

Pete Jones

Andrew Rider

Stewart Shipp

Andrew Stockman

Antony Vugler


Past lectures

Keith May (pre-2017)

Mitch Glickstein (pre-2018)

Tom Salt (pre-2017)

Undergraduate course assessment (NEUR3045)

Graduate course assessment (NEURG045/M045)