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 cortical visual mechanisms involved in processing spatial relationships remain subject to debate. According to one current view, the ''dorsal stream'' of visual areas, emanating from primary visual cortex and culminating in the posterior parietal cortex, mediates this aspect of visual processing. More recently, others have argued that while the dorsal stream provides egocentric coding of visual location for motor control, the separate ''ventral'' stream is needed for allocentric spatial coding. We have assessed the visual form agnosic patient DF, whose (...) lesion mainly affects the ventral stream, on a prehension task requiring allocentric spatial coding. She was presented with transparent circular disks. Each disk had circular holes cut in it. DF was asked to reach out and grasp the disk by placing her fingers through the holes. The disks either had three holes (for forefinger, middle finger, and thumb) or two holes (for forefinger and thumb). The distance between the forefinger and thumb holes, and the orientation of the line formed by them, were independently varied. DF was quite unable to adjust her grip aperture or her hand orientation in the three-hole task. Although she was able to orient her hand appropriately for the two-hole disks, she still remained unable to adjust her grip aperture to the distance between the holes. These findings are consistent with the idea that allocentric processing of spatial information requires a functioning ventral stream, even when the information is being used to guide a motor response. (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)
Little is known about distance processing in patients with posterior brain damage. Although many investigators have claimed that distance estimates are normal or abnormal in some of these patients, many of these observations were made informally and the examiners often asked for relative, and not absolute, distance estimates. The present investigation served two purposes. First, we wanted to contrast the use of distance information in peripersonal space for perceptual report as opposed to visuomotor control in our visual form agnosic patient, (...) DF. Second, we wanted to see to what extent her abilities to process distance cues were dependent on binocular vision, in light of Milner et al.'s (1991) observations of preserved stereopsis in DF, and Dijkerman et al.'s (1996) and Marotta et al.'s (1997) observations that her visual guidance of grasping may be particularly dependent on binocular vision of the target. We hypothesized that DF's visuomotor responses would show normal sensitivity to target distance, while her perceptual estimates would not. In the first experiment, we required DF and two age- and sex-matched control subjects to reach out and grasp black cubes placed at varying distances, or to estimate the distance of the cubes from the hand starting position without making a reaching movement. In the second experiment, we required DF and two age-matched control subjects to point as rapidly and accurately as possible to small LED targets which differed in spatial location, under binocular and monocular conditions. The results showed that, relative to the control subjects, DF's grasping movements produced normal peak velocity-distance scaling-when she reached for blocks which varied in depth or pointed to LED targets which were presented at different distances in depth. In contrast, in the cube experiment, her verbal estimates of object distance were poorly scaled, although they improved slightly under the binocular conditions. The results are discussed in terms of current theories of processing streams in extrastriate visual cortex and the distinction between categorical and coordinate spatial processing. (shrink)
Comparative Neurospychology is a collection of state-of-the-art essays by some of the world's leading neuropsychologists. Taking as their starting point the assumption that the human brain shares many of its most important functional systems with its primate relatives, the authors take acomparative evolutionary approach to understanding human cognition and brain function. A wide range of subject areas are covered, including memory, visual and somatosensory perception, motor control, attention, cross-modality integration, interhemispheric transmission, and behaviouralintelligence.