Semin Neurol 1997; 17(2): 145-152
DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1040924
© 1997 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

Consciousness of Perception After Brain Damage

Martha J. Farah1 , Todd E. Feinberg2
  • 1Department of Psychology, The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 2Yarmon Neurobehavior and Alzheimer's Disease Center, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, New York
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19. März 2008 (online)


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.