Do we have independent visual streams for perception and action?

Thomas Schenk, Robert D. Mcintosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The perception–action model proposes that vision-for-perception and vision-for-action are based on anatomically distinct and functionally independent streams within the visual cortex. This idea can account for diverse experimental findings, and has been hugely influential over the past two decades. The model itself comprises a set of core contrasts between the functional properties of the two visual streams. We critically review the evidence for these contrasts, arguing that each of them has either been refuted or found limited empirical support. We suggest that the perception–action model captures some broad patterns of functional localization, but that the specializations of the two streams are relative, not absolute. The ubiquity and extent of inter-stream interactions suggest that we should reject the idea that the ventral and dorsal streams are functionally independent processing pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-62
JournalCognitive Neuroscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2010


  • visual cortex
  • Ventral
  • Dorsal
  • Perception
  • Action


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