Seeing Beyond the Visual Cortex

Blindsight is a condition that results from damage to the primary visual cortex, the part of the brain responsible for vision. Even though the injury causes vision loss, other parts of the brain continue to unconsciously process visual information. Tony Ro of the City College of New York hopes that mapping these alternative brain regions could help inform new rehabilitation therapies for these patients.

Ro’s research involves shooting a magnetic pulse straight into the visual cortex of a subject’s brain, disabling that region and momentarily blinding the subject. Though “blind,” in most cases, the subject can still correctly identify shapes flashed onto a computer screen, the study finds.

NewsHour science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports on the research for the National Science Foundation’s* Science Nation.

*For the record, the National Science Foundation is an underwriter of the NewsHour.

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