From affective blindsight to emotional consciousness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Following destruction or denervation of the primary visual cortex (V1) cortical blindness ensues. Affective blindsight refers to the uncanny ability of such patients to respond correctly, or above chance level, to visual emotional expressions presented to their blind fields. Fifteen years after its original discovery, affective blindsight still fascinates neuroscientists and philosophers alike, as it offers a unique window on the vestigial properties of our visual system that, though present in the intact brain, tend to be unnoticed or even actively inhibited by conscious processes. Here we review available studies on affective blindsight with the intent to clarify its functional properties, neural bases and theoretical implications. Evidence converges on the role of subcortical structures of old evolutionary origin such as the superior colliculus, the pulvinar and the amygdala in mediating affective blindsight and nonconscious perception of emotions. We conclude that approaching consciousness, and its absence, from the vantage point of emotion processing may uncover important relations between the two phenomena, as consciousness may have evolved as an evolutionary specialization to interact with others and become aware of their social and emotional expressions.
Keywords: Cortical blindness, V1, Emotion, Awareness, Amygdala, Superior colliculus, Pulvinar
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414–425
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Volume36
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint

Consciousness
Cortical Blindness
Pulvinar
Visual Cortex

Cite this

@article{af3404039fc548ddacf455e1b4ced84c,
title = "From affective blindsight to emotional consciousness",
abstract = "Following destruction or denervation of the primary visual cortex (V1) cortical blindness ensues. Affective blindsight refers to the uncanny ability of such patients to respond correctly, or above chance level, to visual emotional expressions presented to their blind fields. Fifteen years after its original discovery, affective blindsight still fascinates neuroscientists and philosophers alike, as it offers a unique window on the vestigial properties of our visual system that, though present in the intact brain, tend to be unnoticed or even actively inhibited by conscious processes. Here we review available studies on affective blindsight with the intent to clarify its functional properties, neural bases and theoretical implications. Evidence converges on the role of subcortical structures of old evolutionary origin such as the superior colliculus, the pulvinar and the amygdala in mediating affective blindsight and nonconscious perception of emotions. We conclude that approaching consciousness, and its absence, from the vantage point of emotion processing may uncover important relations between the two phenomena, as consciousness may have evolved as an evolutionary specialization to interact with others and become aware of their social and emotional expressions.Keywords: Cortical blindness, V1, Emotion, Awareness, Amygdala, Superior colliculus, Pulvinar",
author = "A. Celeghin and {de Gelder}, B. and M. Tamietto",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.1016/j.concog.2015.05.007",
language = "English",
volume = "36",
pages = "414–425",
journal = "Consciousness and Cognition",
issn = "1053-8100",
publisher = "ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE",

}

From affective blindsight to emotional consciousness. / Celeghin, A.; de Gelder, B.; Tamietto, M.

In: Consciousness and Cognition, Vol. 36, 2015, p. 414–425.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - From affective blindsight to emotional consciousness

AU - Celeghin, A.

AU - de Gelder, B.

AU - Tamietto, M.

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Following destruction or denervation of the primary visual cortex (V1) cortical blindness ensues. Affective blindsight refers to the uncanny ability of such patients to respond correctly, or above chance level, to visual emotional expressions presented to their blind fields. Fifteen years after its original discovery, affective blindsight still fascinates neuroscientists and philosophers alike, as it offers a unique window on the vestigial properties of our visual system that, though present in the intact brain, tend to be unnoticed or even actively inhibited by conscious processes. Here we review available studies on affective blindsight with the intent to clarify its functional properties, neural bases and theoretical implications. Evidence converges on the role of subcortical structures of old evolutionary origin such as the superior colliculus, the pulvinar and the amygdala in mediating affective blindsight and nonconscious perception of emotions. We conclude that approaching consciousness, and its absence, from the vantage point of emotion processing may uncover important relations between the two phenomena, as consciousness may have evolved as an evolutionary specialization to interact with others and become aware of their social and emotional expressions.Keywords: Cortical blindness, V1, Emotion, Awareness, Amygdala, Superior colliculus, Pulvinar

AB - Following destruction or denervation of the primary visual cortex (V1) cortical blindness ensues. Affective blindsight refers to the uncanny ability of such patients to respond correctly, or above chance level, to visual emotional expressions presented to their blind fields. Fifteen years after its original discovery, affective blindsight still fascinates neuroscientists and philosophers alike, as it offers a unique window on the vestigial properties of our visual system that, though present in the intact brain, tend to be unnoticed or even actively inhibited by conscious processes. Here we review available studies on affective blindsight with the intent to clarify its functional properties, neural bases and theoretical implications. Evidence converges on the role of subcortical structures of old evolutionary origin such as the superior colliculus, the pulvinar and the amygdala in mediating affective blindsight and nonconscious perception of emotions. We conclude that approaching consciousness, and its absence, from the vantage point of emotion processing may uncover important relations between the two phenomena, as consciousness may have evolved as an evolutionary specialization to interact with others and become aware of their social and emotional expressions.Keywords: Cortical blindness, V1, Emotion, Awareness, Amygdala, Superior colliculus, Pulvinar

U2 - 10.1016/j.concog.2015.05.007

DO - 10.1016/j.concog.2015.05.007

M3 - Article

VL - 36

SP - 414

EP - 425

JO - Consciousness and Cognition

JF - Consciousness and Cognition

SN - 1053-8100

ER -