Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Monkey data suggest that of all perceptual abilities, motion perception is the most likely to survive striate damage. The results of studies on motion blindsight in humans, though, are mixed. We used an indirect strategy to examine how responses to visible stimuli were modulated by blind-field stimuli. In a 26-year-old man with focal striate lesions, discrimination of visible optic flow was enhanced about 7% by blind-field flow, even though discrimination of optic flow in the blind field alone (the direct strategy) was at chance. Pursuit of an imagined target using peripheral cues showed reduced variance but not increased gain with blind-field cues. Preceding blind-field prompts shortened reaction times to visible targets by about 10 msec, but there was no attentional crowding of visible stimuli by blind-field distractors. A similar efficacy of indirect blind-field optic flow modulation was found in a second patient with residual vision after focal striate damage, but not in a third with more extensive medial occipito-temporal damage. We conclude that indirect modulatory strategies are more effective than direct forced-choice methods at revealing residual motion perception after focal striate lesions.