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Brain, Perception, MemoryAdvances in Cognitive Neuroscience$
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Johan J. Bolhuis

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198524823

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524823.001.0001

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To have but not to hold

To have but not to hold

(p.311) 18 To have but not to hold
Brain, Perception, Memory

Lawrence Weiskrantz

Oxford University Press

This chapter is concerned with the most advanced state of cognition, consciousness. It reviews some of the classic studies of performance without awareness. For instance, it is now a well-known phenomenon in amnesic patients that they can often perform certain tasks very well, but they have no recollection of ever having done the task. By presenting part of the training stimuli, the performance of amnesic patients in recognition tasks can be improved markedly, a phenomenon which is now known as ‘priming’. The chapter describes a phenomenon was discovered which this chapter terms ‘blindsight’, where patients with extensive damage to their visual cortex nevertheless are able to respond to stimuli in their blind fields. Interestingly, a similar phenomenon has been found in monkeys with lesions to the striate cortex. This chapter discusses the implications of these and related phenomena for the understanding of consciousness.

Keywords:   cognition, consciousness, amnesic patients, priming, blindsight

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