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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Blindsight: recent and historical controversies on the blindness of blindsight

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Abstract The phenomenon ‘blindsight’ has received much interest from neuroscientists, philosophers, and psychologists during the last decades. Several researchers seem to agree that blindsight might be of great importance in the ambition to find neural correlates of consciousness. However, the history of blindsight is a history of changing experimental paradigms and very few patients. In late 19th century, researchers debated why lesions to primary visual cortex seemingly left some visual abilities intact in animals, while human patients reported to be blind. From the 1970s until today, experiments have attempted to compare measures of conscious and unconscious perception, suggesting a distinction between visual functions and visual experience. However, more recently, newer methods and an interest in introspective reports have cast doubts about the ‘blindness’ of blindsight. A cautious conclusion is suggested, though current research can be interpreted in different ways. WIREs Cogn Sci 2012 doi: 10.1002/wcs.1194 This article is categorized under: Psychology > Brain Function and Dysfunction

The primary and alternative routes from the retina to various regions in the brain. The black arrows indicate primary routes and the dotted lines indicate very sparse routes. (Reprinted with permission from Ref 21. Copyright 1993 Elsevier)

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