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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

September 1999, Vol. 11, No. 5, Pages 502-510
(doi: 10.1162/089892999563562)
© 1999 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Residual Vision in a Subject with Damaged Visual Cortex
Article PDF (242.93 KB)

It is well known that a lesion in the optic radiation or striate cortex leads to blind visual regions in the retinotopically corresponding portion of the visual field. However, various studies show that some subjects still perceive certain stimuli even when presented in the “blind” visual field. Such subjects either perceive stimuli abnormally or only certain aspects of them (residual vision) or, in some cases, deny perception altogether even though visual performance can be shown to be above chance (blindsight). Research on monkeys has suggested a variety of parallel extrastriate visual pathways that could bypass the striate cortex and mediate residual vision or blindsight. In the present study, we investigated a subject with perimetrically blind visual areas caused by bilateral brain damage. Black and white stimuli were presented at many locations in the intact and affected areas of the visual field. The subject's task was to state, using confidence levels, whether the target stimulus was black or white. The results revealed an area in the “blind” visual field in which the subject perceived a light flash when the experimental black stimulus was presented. We hypothesize that a spared region in the visual cortex most likely accounts for these findings.