Semantically induced distortions of visual awareness in a patient with Balint's syndrome.
Soto D., Humphreys GW.
We present data indicating that visual awareness for a basic perceptual feature (colour) can be influenced by the relation between the feature and the semantic properties of the stimulus. We examined semantic interference from the meaning of a colour word (''RED") on simple colour (ink related) detection responses in a patient with simultagnosia due to bilateral parietal lesions. We found that colour detection was influenced by the congruency between the meaning of the word and the relevant ink colour, with impaired performance when the word and the colour mismatched (on incongruent trials). This result held even when remote associations between meaning and colour were used (i.e. the word ''PEA" influenced detection of the ink colour red). The results are consistent with a late locus of conscious visual experience that is derived at post-semantic levels. The implications for the understanding of the role of parietal cortex in object binding and visual awareness are discussed.