Inhibitory Tagging of Locations in the Blind Field of Hemianopic Patients

Consciousness and Cognition 6 (2-3):291-307 (1997)
Abstract
This study evaluated the potential contribution of extrageniculate visual pathways to oculomotor orienting reflexes in hemianopic patients. It tested whether extrageniculate pathways mediate inhibition of return —a phenomenon characterized by slowed target detections at recently stimulated locations . Because hemianopic subjects cannot overtly respond to stimuli presented within their hemianopic field, we utilized a spatial cueing paradigm that capitalized on the fact that IOR operates in spatiotopic coordinates. Subjects moved their eyes so that a cue and a target presented at the same spatial location were imaged successively onto blind and seeing portions of their retinas. One hemianopic patient showed a similar IOR effect from cues presented within both the seeing and the hemianopic fields. With a second hemianopic patient, only presentations of the cue to the subject's seeing field produced IOR. The explanation for this discrepancy is not evident. These observations highlight both the potential value and the pitfalls inherent in using “blindsight” as a window into human consciousness
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