The existence of unconscious visually triggered behavior in patients with cortical blindness (e.g., homonymous hemianopia) has been amply demonstrated and the neural bases of this phenomenon have been thoroughly studied. However, a crosstalk between the two hemispheres as a possible mechanism of unconscious or partially conscious vision has not been so far considered. Thus, the aim of this study was to assess the relationship between structural and functional properties of the corpus callosum (CC), as shown by probabilistic tractography (PT), behavioral detection/discrimination performance and level of perceptual awareness in the blind field of patients with hemianopia. Twelve patients were tested in two tasks with black-and-white visual square-wave gratings, one task of movement and the other of orientation. The stimuli were lateralized to one hemifield either intact or blind. A PT analysis was carried out on MRI data to extract fiber properties along the CC (genu, body, and splenium). Compared with a control group of participants without brain damage, patients showed lower FA values in all three CC sections studied. For the intact hemifield we found a significant correlation between PT values and visual detection/discrimination accuracy. For the blind hemifield the level of perceptual awareness correlated with PT values for all three CC sections in the movement task. Importantly, significant differences in all three CC sections were found also between patients with above-vs. chance detection/discrimination performance while differences in the genu were found between patients with and without perceptual awareness. Overall, our study provides evidence that the properties of CC fibers are related to the presence of unconscious stimulus detection/discrimination and to hints of perceptual awareness for stimulus presentation to the blind hemifield. These results underline the importance of information exchange between the damaged and the healthy hemisphere for possible partial or full recovery from hemianopia.

Role of corpus callosum in unconscious vision

Sanchez-Lopez, Javier
;
Cardobi, Nicolo;Parisi, Giorgia;Savazzi, Silvia;Marzi, Carlo A
2024-01-01

Abstract

The existence of unconscious visually triggered behavior in patients with cortical blindness (e.g., homonymous hemianopia) has been amply demonstrated and the neural bases of this phenomenon have been thoroughly studied. However, a crosstalk between the two hemispheres as a possible mechanism of unconscious or partially conscious vision has not been so far considered. Thus, the aim of this study was to assess the relationship between structural and functional properties of the corpus callosum (CC), as shown by probabilistic tractography (PT), behavioral detection/discrimination performance and level of perceptual awareness in the blind field of patients with hemianopia. Twelve patients were tested in two tasks with black-and-white visual square-wave gratings, one task of movement and the other of orientation. The stimuli were lateralized to one hemifield either intact or blind. A PT analysis was carried out on MRI data to extract fiber properties along the CC (genu, body, and splenium). Compared with a control group of participants without brain damage, patients showed lower FA values in all three CC sections studied. For the intact hemifield we found a significant correlation between PT values and visual detection/discrimination accuracy. For the blind hemifield the level of perceptual awareness correlated with PT values for all three CC sections in the movement task. Importantly, significant differences in all three CC sections were found also between patients with above-vs. chance detection/discrimination performance while differences in the genu were found between patients with and without perceptual awareness. Overall, our study provides evidence that the properties of CC fibers are related to the presence of unconscious stimulus detection/discrimination and to hints of perceptual awareness for stimulus presentation to the blind hemifield. These results underline the importance of information exchange between the damaged and the healthy hemisphere for possible partial or full recovery from hemianopia.
2024
Blindsight
Corpus callosum
Hemianopia
Perceptual awareness
Probabilistic tractography
Visual discrimination
Visual movement
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
1-s2.0-S002839322400054X-main.pdf

accesso aperto

Descrizione: CC BY-NC 4.0 publisher version
Tipologia: Versione dell'editore
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 4.12 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
4.12 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1120153
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 0
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact