Occipital Lobes and Visual Perception

colored regions of the brain
The four lobes of the brain include the frontal lobe (red), the parietal lobe (yellow), temporal lobe (green), and occipital lobe (orange).

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The occipital lobes are one of the four main lobes or regions of the cerebral cortex. These lobes are vital for receiving, processing, and interpreting sensory information. The occipital lobes are positioned at the posterior region of the cerebral cortex and are the main centers for visual processing. In addition to the occipital lobes, posterior portions of the parietal lobes and temporal lobes are also involved in visual perception.


Directionally, the occipital lobes are positioned posterior to the temporal lobes and inferior to the parietal lobes. They are located in the largest division of the brain known as the forebrain (prosencephalon).

Located within the occipital lobes is the primary visual cortex. This region of the brain receives visual input from the retina. These visual signals are interpreted in the occipital lobes.


The occipital lobes are involved in several functions of the body including:

  • Visual Perception
  • Color Recognition
  • Reading
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Depth Perception
  • Recognition of Object Movement

The occipital lobes receive and interpret visual information. Vision is the ability to detect images of visible light. The eyes transmit this information via nerve impulses to the visual cortex. The visual cortex takes this information and processes it so that we are able to determine colors, identify objects, identify shapes, and other aspects of visual perception. The visual information is then sent to the parietal lobes and temporal lobes for further processing. The parietal lobes use this visual information in conjunction with motor processes to perform such tasks as opening a door or brushing your teeth. The temporal lobes help to connect the visual information received with memories.

Occipital Lobe Injuries

Damage to the occipital lobes may result in a number of vision-related problems. Some of these issues include the inability to discern colors, vision loss, visual hallucinations, inability to identify words, and distorted visual perception.

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Bailey, Regina. "Occipital Lobes and Visual Perception." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/occipital-lobes-anatomy-373224. Bailey, Regina. (2020, August 26). Occipital Lobes and Visual Perception. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/occipital-lobes-anatomy-373224 Bailey, Regina. "Occipital Lobes and Visual Perception." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/occipital-lobes-anatomy-373224 (accessed June 1, 2023).