Research Topic

Seeing Natural Scenes

About this Research Topic

When it comes to survival, the importance of sensory systems is obvious. They are the enviro-neural interface, the windows through which the inner (-species-appropriate-) “homunculus” peers out. As such sensory systems likely display a degree of specialization reflecting the demands of the species’ ecological niche in addition to those tailored towards ubiquitously present features. Within the visual sciences, it is becoming increasingly popular to use ‘natural stimuli’ to better understand visual processes. Here the underlying premise is that the visual process under investigation will in some way be organized and/or perform ‘more optimally’ when considered within the framework of scenes it has evolved to interpret. Indeed, there are many instances where natural stimuli elicit responses that could not have been predicted by using simpler ‘classic’ stimuli. Similarly, it is often only by considering the natural scenes a species typically encounters does the method behind the madness for the arrangement of its visual neurons become apparent.

With this Research Topic, our goal is to bring together disparate invertebrate- and vertebrate- vision research communities engaged with natural images, scenes and behaviours to address one general question “What have natural stimuli taught us?” For instance (but not limited to), what are the challenges faced by visuals systems and how were they solved? Was it by developing specialized neural circuits, coding, and/or morphological arrangements? Have some solutions been developed multiple times and if so, what does that tell us about the general principles involved? If we compare across species, can we separate the specializations from the more general principles, and what do these general principles tell us about the fundamentals of vision? What processes have been uncovered that could only have been done so by using natural stimuli or by considering the natural scenes?

We welcome submissions to this Research Topic in the form of original research articles, reviews, and perspectives from members of all invertebrate- and vertebrate- vision research communities including, but not limited to:

• Visual Neuroscience e.g., ommatidia, optical lobe, protocerebrum, retinal, sub-cortical, and cortical

• Scene statistic

What is the natural world teaching us about visual processes?


Keywords: Vision, Visual processing, Visual systems, Visual neurons, Visual ecology, Visual target detection, Vertebrates, Invertebrates


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

When it comes to survival, the importance of sensory systems is obvious. They are the enviro-neural interface, the windows through which the inner (-species-appropriate-) “homunculus” peers out. As such sensory systems likely display a degree of specialization reflecting the demands of the species’ ecological niche in addition to those tailored towards ubiquitously present features. Within the visual sciences, it is becoming increasingly popular to use ‘natural stimuli’ to better understand visual processes. Here the underlying premise is that the visual process under investigation will in some way be organized and/or perform ‘more optimally’ when considered within the framework of scenes it has evolved to interpret. Indeed, there are many instances where natural stimuli elicit responses that could not have been predicted by using simpler ‘classic’ stimuli. Similarly, it is often only by considering the natural scenes a species typically encounters does the method behind the madness for the arrangement of its visual neurons become apparent.

With this Research Topic, our goal is to bring together disparate invertebrate- and vertebrate- vision research communities engaged with natural images, scenes and behaviours to address one general question “What have natural stimuli taught us?” For instance (but not limited to), what are the challenges faced by visuals systems and how were they solved? Was it by developing specialized neural circuits, coding, and/or morphological arrangements? Have some solutions been developed multiple times and if so, what does that tell us about the general principles involved? If we compare across species, can we separate the specializations from the more general principles, and what do these general principles tell us about the fundamentals of vision? What processes have been uncovered that could only have been done so by using natural stimuli or by considering the natural scenes?

We welcome submissions to this Research Topic in the form of original research articles, reviews, and perspectives from members of all invertebrate- and vertebrate- vision research communities including, but not limited to:

• Visual Neuroscience e.g., ommatidia, optical lobe, protocerebrum, retinal, sub-cortical, and cortical

• Scene statistic

What is the natural world teaching us about visual processes?


Keywords: Vision, Visual processing, Visual systems, Visual neurons, Visual ecology, Visual target detection, Vertebrates, Invertebrates


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 October 2021 Abstract
31 January 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 October 2021 Abstract
31 January 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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