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BlindsightA Case Study and Implications$
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L. Weiskrantz

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198521921

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198521921.001.0001

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D.B.: Clinical history and early testing

D.B.: Clinical history and early testing

(p.20) 2 D.B.: Clinical history and early testing

L. Weiskrantz

Oxford University Press

‘D. B.’ is the subject of the book who underwent intensive tests of his blindsight. His visual cortex in one hemisphere was removed surgically to excise an invasive tumour when he was 33 years old. The findings of Pöppel et al. (1973) were confirmed, in which brain damaged subjects could move their eyes to the location of an ‘unseen’ stimulus in their blind fields. The use of animal testing methods were then applied by asking D. B. to guess the location of stimuli by reaching for them. He was also asked to guess between two alternatives: whether a line was horizontal or not, and whether a stimulus was a particular shape or an alternative shape. Asking him to guess whether a sine-wave grating or a homogenous luminous-matched patch was present or not made it possible to measure his visual acuity and compare it with that of the intact visual hemifield. Following a battery of tests, his verbal commentaries were recorded in which he characteristically said he was just guessing and thought he was ‘at chance’ because he could not see anything, although in some tests he had a ‘feeling’ that something was there.

Keywords:   blindsight, visual cortex, Pöppel, reaching, orientation discrimination, visual acuity

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