Color experience in blindsight?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Blindsight, the ability to blindly discriminate wavelength and other aspects of stimuli in a blind field, sometimes occurs in people with lesions to striate (V1) cortex. There is currently no consensus on whether qualitative color information of the sort that is normally computed by double opponent cells in striate cortex is indeed computed in blindsight but doesn't reach awareness, perhaps owing to abnormal neuron responsiveness in striate or extra-striate cortical areas, or is not computed at all. The existence of primesight, the experience of colored afterimages in blindsight, has been taken to suggest that qualitative color information is computed either in pre-striate or striate cortical areas but is not broadcast to working memory. I argue here that a recent study in which color phosphenes were induced in a blindsighter using bilateral transcranial magnetic stimulation indicates that computations necessary for conscious color vision are lost in blindsight. Owing to this loss, the neural responsiveness in extrastriate cortical areas is abnormal and hence is unable to give rise to color awareness. Blindsight is thus degraded vision in which the computations necessary for conscious color vision have been lost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-786
Number of pages20
JournalPhilosophical Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Blindsight
  • Cognitive Phenomenology
  • Color Experience
  • Neural Correlate
  • Primesight
  • Super-Blindsight
  • Visual Cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology


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