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An intimate relationship is often assumed between visual attention and visual awareness. Using a subject, patient GY, with the neurological condition of "blindsight" we show that although attention may be a necessary precursor to visual awareness it is not a sufficient one. Using a Posner endogenous spatial cueing paradigm we showed that the time our subject needed to discriminate the orientation of a stimulus was reduced if he was cued to the location of the stimulus. This reaction-time advantage was obtained without any decrease in discrimination accuracy and cannot therefore be attributed to speed-error trade-off or differences in bias between cued and uncued locations. As a result of his condition GY was not aware of the stimuli to which processing was attentionally facilitated. Attention cannot, therefore be a sufficient condition for awareness.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2003.11.001

Type

Journal article

Journal

Neuropsychologia

Publication Date

2004

Volume

42

Pages

831 - 835

Keywords

Adult, Attention, Awareness, Blindness, Brain Damage, Chronic, Consciousness, Discrimination (Psychology), Humans, Male, Signal Detection, Psychological, Space Perception, Vision, Ocular, Visual Cortex, Visual Fields, Visual Perception