posted on Dec, 15 2004 @ 09:22 PM
A man who is 'cortically blind', who cannot see but who's retina themselves are not damaged, is able to correctly identify the emotions on images of
faces. Apparently he can't identify shapes, or even 'deadpan' faces. But emotional displays are recognized. Most bizzarely, angry animal faces
resulted in no response either.
The 52-year-old "patient X" suffered two strokes which damaged the brain areas which process visual signals.
Scans showed that when the man looked at faces with emotion, another part of his brain, the amygdala, was activated.when the patient was asked to
identify angry or happy human faces, he did so with an accuracy of 59% - significantly higher than would be expected by chance.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Astounding.He can't see whats going on around him, but information is still being picked up by his eyes and transmitted to, and processed by, the
brain. Apparently its the amgydala that is responsible for this visceral response.
Amoung other things that make this interesting are the possibility of finding out what abstract shapes and forms can result in similar responses.
Although if animal faces can't result in a reaction then that might not be very likely. It seems that it would be strange that the amygdala, a part
of the brain responsible for many automated functions and more 'primtive'. I say its strange because one would expect this early(phylogenetically)
forming part of the brain should've been well established before human beings were around at all, and I'd think that it would respond in a survival
sort of situation, ie to angry animals and such.
On the other hand, perhaps it has this reaction only to members of its own species, meaning that these visceral reaction, ironically, are strongly
invovled in social situations.
Related News Links: