Suffering and or sacrifice of experimental animals, is it necessary?
The major purpose of this study was to discover whether our ability to see is determined by cells that fire in the brain to points of light in specific locations. To test this hypothesis, Hubel developed a procedure which enabled researchers to study brain activity in cats whose visual system shares similarities with the human eye and brain. First the cats were anesthetized and a hollow peg was surgically implanted into their skulls. Once the cats recovered from the anesthesia, tiny microelectrodes were inserted into the cat's brain. They track the response of cells as the cat watched special light displays.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether our ability to see is determined by cells that fire in the brain (the striate cortex. This question was first examined in cats who have a visual system similar to humans. At the time this study was conducted, scientists had only been able to study brain (cortical) cell responding while cats were not conscious (under anesthesia). Hubel's experiment pioneered a new technique to study brain activity when animals were in a natural consciousness.
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David H. Hubel (1959), Journal of Physiology, 147, 226-238