Vision, more than any other sense, dominates our mental life. Our visual experience is just so rich, so detailed, that we can hardly distinguish that experience from the world itself. Even when we just think about the world and don't look at it directly, we can't help but 'imagine' what it looks like. We think of 'seeing' as being a conscious activity--we direct our eyes, we choose what we look at, we register what we are seeing. The series of events (...) described in this book radically altered this attitude towards vision. This book describes one of the most extraordinary neurological cases of recent years--one that profoundly changed scientific views on consciousness. It is the story of Dee Fletcher--a woman recently blinded--who became the subject of a series of scientific studies. As events unfolded, Milner and Goodale found that Dee wasn't in fact blind--she just didn't know that she could see. Taking us on a journey into the unconscious brain, the two scientists who made this incredible discovery tell the amazing story of their work, and the surprising conclusion they were forced to reach. Written to be accessible to students and popular science readers, this book is a fascinating illustration of the power of the 'unconscious' mind. (shrink)
The McCollough effect, an orientation-contingent color aftereffect, has been known for over 30 years and, like other aftereffects, has been taken as a means of probing the brain's operations psychophysically. In this paper, we review psychophysical, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging studies of the McCollough effect. Much of the evidence suggests that the McCollough effect depends on neural mechanisms that are located early in the cortical visual pathways, probably in V1. We also review evidence showing that the aftereffect can be induced without (...) conscious perception of the induction patterns. Based on these two lines of evidence, it is argued that our conscious visual experience of the world arises in the cortical visual system beyond V1. (shrink)
It is our contention that the concept of planning in Glover's model is too broadly defined, encompassing both action/goal selection and the programming of the constituent movements required to acquire the goal. We argue that this monolithic view of planning is untenable on neuropsychological, neurophysiological, and behavioural grounds. The evidence demands instead that a distinction be made between action planning and the specification of the initial kinematic parameters, with the former depending on processing in the ventral stream and the latter (...) on processing in the dorsal stream. (shrink)
O'Regan & Noë run into some difficulty in trying to reconcile their “seeing as acting” proposal with the perception and action account of the functions of the two streams of visual projections in the primate cerebral cortex. I suggest that part of the problem is their reluctance to acknowledge that the mechanisms in the ventral stream may play a more critical role in visual awareness and qualia than mechanisms in the dorsal stream.
Vision is so closely identified with visual phenomenology that we sometimes forget that the visual system does more than deliver our experience of the world. Vision also plays a critical role in the control of our movements, from picking up our coffee cups to playing tennis. But the visual control of movement has, until recently, been relatively neglected. Indeed, traditional accounts of vision, while acknowledging the role of vision in motor control, have simply regarded such control as part of a (...) larger function—that of constructing an internal model of the external world. Even though such accounts might postulate separate ‘modules’ for the processing of different visual features, such as motion, colour, texture, and form, in most of these accounts there is an implicit assumption that, in the end, vision delivers a single representation of the external world—a kind of simulacrum of the real thing that serves as the perceptual foundation for all visually driven thought and action. (shrink)
Hommel et al. propose that high-level perception and action planning share a common representational domain, which facilitates the control of intentional actions. On the surface, this point of view appears quite different from an alternative account that suggests that “action” and “perception” are functionally and neurologically dissociable processes. But it is difficult to reconcile these apparently different perspectives, because Hommel et al. do not clearly specify what they mean by “perception” and “action planning.” With respect to the visual control of (...) action, a distinction must be made between conscious visual perception and unconscious visuomotor processing. Hommel et al. must also distinguish between the what and how aspects of action planning, that is, planning what to do versus planning how to do it. (shrink)
Dijkerman & de Haan (D&dH) propose a convincing model of somatosensory organization that is inspired by earlier perception-action models of the visual system. In this commentary, we suggest that the dorsal and ventral visual streams both contribute to the control of action, but in different ways. Using the example of grip and load force calibration, we show how the ventral stream can invoke stored information about the material properties of objects originally derived from the somatosensory system.