Consciousness of perception after brain damage

Martha J. Farah, Todd E. Feinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Disturbances of visual perception after brain damage provide clues to understanding consciousness and the brain. In this article we review six visual disorders in which perception and consciousness are dissociated as a result of brain damage: blindsight, implicit shape perception in apperceptive visual agnosia, covert recognition of faces in prosopagnosia, unconscious perception in neglect and extinction, implicit reading in pure alexia, and implicit object recognition in associative visual agnosia. We consider these six disorders from the standpoint of three main schools of thought concerning consciousness and the brain, namely a localized system for consciousness, consciousness as a state of integration, and consciousness as a property of graded representation. The findings suggest that these syndromes do not share a single mechanism and that it is conceivable that more than one explanation will be necessary both within and across syndromes. We conclude on the basis of the current evidence that it is unlikely that any single brain system is necessary for conscious awareness of perception that does not play a role in perception as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-152
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Blindsight
  • Consciousness
  • Neural networks
  • Prosopagnosia
  • Pure alexia
  • Visual agnosia
  • Visual perception


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