Mechanism of 'blindsight' explored

Oct 31, 2005

Rice University researchers report inducing temporary "blindsight" in healthy volunteers.

Blindsight is a phenomenon in which people with a deactivated primary visual cortex -- an area of their brain essential for visual perception -- can still sense objects in their field of vision.

Researcher Tony Ro and colleagues tested blindsight in human subjects with normal vision.

Using an electromagnetic brain stimulation technique, the researchers deactivated the primary visual cortex in 12 volunteers. An object on a screen -- such as a colored disk or a horizontal or vertical bar -- was then flashed in front of the temporarily blinded volunteers.

Although the volunteers reported no awareness of the objects' characteristics the majority of the time, they also guessed correctly at a level significantly higher than chance.

The results suggest the existence of a visual pathway that bypasses the primary visual cortex and can process some characteristics unconsciously, the scientists said.

The research appears in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: New 'Surveyman' software promises to revolutionize survey design and accuracy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tablets, cars drive AT&T wireless gains—not phones

5 hours ago

AT&T says it gained 2 million wireless subscribers in the latest quarter, but most were from non-phone services such as tablets and Internet-connected cars. The company is facing pricing pressure from smaller rivals T-Mobile ...

Twitter looks to weave into more mobile apps

5 hours ago

Twitter on Wednesday set out to weave itself into mobile applications with a free "Fabric" platform to help developers build better programs and make more money.

Recommended for you

Remains of French ship being reassembled in Texas

22 hours ago

A frigate carrying French colonists to the New World that sank in a storm off the Texas coast more than 300 years ago is being reassembled into a display that archeologists hope will let people walk over ...

User comments : 0