I have read in some websites that the percentage of the cortex devoted to processing visual information is from 30-66% with some claiming even 90%. And compared to that, only about 3% is dedicated to hearing.

Is this true?

The only source I've found stating something similar is from Sells & Fixott (1957) where 50% of the neural tissue is devoted to vision and almost two-thirds of the electrical activity of the brain is devoted to vision when the eyes are open.

I haven't found anything related to hearing though. Does anyone know of a paper where this is discussed?


Sells, S.B. & Fixott, R. S. (1957). Evaluation of Research on Effects of Visual Training on Visual Functions. American Journal of Ophthalmology 44(2), 230—236
DOI: 10.1016/0002-9394(57)90012-0

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    $\begingroup$ It is interesting that there are plenty of quotes for the Fixot paper, but no information on what the paper was titled or DOI. Just "Fixot, RS. American Journal of Ophthalmology; 1957". I even did a search on the AJO Website with no success. Is this a genuine quote or is everyone just repeating a false quote with a false citation? $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Mar 1 '18 at 22:52
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, Bowen, (2012) gives us the month of August for publication date. I did a manual search and found it. I couldn't find the information cited though. Maybe I am missing something. Full citation will be added by editting $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Mar 1 '18 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ I had exactly the same issue. Have you found anything on the hearing claim? $\endgroup$ – Girauder Mar 2 '18 at 9:18
  • $\begingroup$ The closest I can see is "not over 50 percent of the variance in visual acuity was accounted for by structural, optic, and anatomic factors reflected in the retinoscopic refraction." Not being an expert in this field, I am not sure this backs the statements made by others. $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Mar 2 '18 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ The claim in usually that 90% of our sensory information/perception is from vision, not that 90% of cortex in devoted to vision. $\endgroup$ – Majid khalili Mar 2 '18 at 15:16

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