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Learning to reach for ‘invisible’ visual input
Warrick Roseboom, & Derek H. Arnold
Current Biology, 21, R493 – R494

Patients who have suffered damage to primary visual cortex can report being blind but display some proficiency when manually interacting with ‘unseen’ objects — a phenomenon known as blindsight [1], [2], [3] and [4]. There is conflicting evidence about analogous situations in normally sighted people [5], [6] and [7]; however, to date no study has attempted to assess a directly analogous situation, to have normally sighted people interact with unseen stimuli. We used a form of binocular masking to suppress awareness of oriented stimuli [8]. Despite initial insensitivity when making verbal judgements, participants who reached as if to grasp perceptually suppressed stimuli displayed increasing proficiency with training and feedback. This was not simply due to practise, as another group did not develop such proficiency when completing a matched number of trials, with feedback, while making verbal responses; however, this same group subsequently developed sensitivity when they too completed training with reaching and feedback. Our data thus reveal a special status for attempts to grasp perceptually suppressed stimuli.

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Created: Wednesday, 13th July 2011 by paulj
Modified: Wednesday, 13th July 2011 by paulj
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