A re-evaluation of blindsight and the role of striate cortex (V1) in visual awareness.

Neuropsychologia (2008)
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Abstract

Some patients with a lesion to the striate cortex (V1), when assessed through forced-choice paradigms, are able to detect stimuli presented in the blind field, despite reporting a complete lack of visual experience. This phenomenon, known as blindsight, strongly implicates V1 in visual awareness. However, the view that V1 is indispensable for conscious visual perception is challenged by a recent finding that the blindsight subject GY can be aware of visual qualia in his blind field, implying that V1may not be critical under all circumstances. This apparent contradiction raises the following question: if V1 is not always necessary for phenomenal awareness, why do V1 lesions have such a detrimental effect on conscious perception? It is suggested here that this contradiction can be resolved by considering the impact of V1 lesions on the functioning of the whole visual cortex.

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